Giannis Antetokounmpo is on top of the world right now. He’s led the Bucks to the best record in the NBA and Milwaukee has clinched a playoff spot faster than any team ever. Everything should be great in the Cream City, but a bad memory lingers in the back of his mind.
The Bucks were in a similar spot last year, but then, a postseason run-in with the Raptors happened. They, of course, beat the Bucks in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, which served as a massively disappointing end for a Milwaukee that had title ambitions.
Antetokounmpo hasn’t forgotten about this, telling the press on Tuesday night that “You always remember the last time you play here, the problems you had.” He said this after the Bucks beat the Raptors in Toronto, 108-97. In fact, Antetokounmpo went as far as to say that the playoff loss was “definitely on my mind.”
Fortunately for the reigning MVP, the Bucks’ playoff run this year could very well put them on another crash course with the Raptors and give them a chance to make up for that loss. Toronto, the second seed in the East with 42 wins, might not have Kawhi Leonard anymore, but the team has proven that the pieces still there are fully capable of winning games. That sentiment goes beyond the players and coaches and, unsurprisingly, applies to superfan Drake, too.
The Bucks are known for a pregame routine involving WWE-style wrestling moves, and Antetokounmpo has even brought a title belt with him to the arena. Drake, perhaps in response to this, brought a pair of title belts with him to Tuesday’s game. Antetokounmpo apparently didn’t notice, but he appreciated that Drake seems to think so much of him.
When he was informed that Drake said he brought the belts to troll Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s reigning MVP replied, “That’s good. He cares about me. I really don’t. I’m just here to win games and help my team win. That’s all.”
The possibility that Antetokounmpo will have to win a few more games against Toronto later this year still exists. Should that happen, it seems safe to assume the lingering bad feelings will give Antetokounmpo a bit of a boost as he looks to get past last year’s failure.