Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks went into Brooklyn on Thursday night and picked up a thrilling 120-119 overtime win over the Nets. After the game, Antetokounmpo dropped a line in his press conference that served as a callback to an old criticism of his game that he once received from a now-former Nets player.
Antetokounmpo was asked about passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the Bucks’ all-time scoring list, something he achieved when he forced overtime by doing something we haven’t seen him do all that much in his career: hitting a stepback, off-the-dribble three.
The moment Giannis became the Bucks All-Time Scoring Leader!!
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 1, 2022
As he explained, Antetokounmpo did not know this bucket gave him a record, but enjoyed how this played a role in how he’s “changing the narrative.”
“I don’t want to be the guy only that dunks and runs, I can make a three,” Antetokounmpo said with a smile on his face. “But no, it doesn’t really matter, because at the end of the day, if you don’t have a successful season and if you don’t try getting better and staying humble and staying happy, to play all the way until May, June, nobody is going to remember this.”
The dunks and runs line was famously used by James Harden back when he was a member of the Houston Rockets. Harden came in second to Antetokounmpo in MVP voting during the 2018-19 season, and the following year, Harden expressed some frustration about the whole thing, telling Rachel Nichols of ESPN that “I wish I could just run and … seven feet and run and just dunk. That takes no skill at all. I gotta actually learn how to play basketball and how to have skill.”
Harden, of course, was a member of the Nets until this past trade deadline, when he was sent to Philadelphia along with Paul Millsap for a package of players and picks headlined by Ben Simmons. Regardless, Antetokounmpo saw a chance to remind everyone of that old criticism of his game and decided to run with it.