THROWBACK: When Giannis Antetokounmpo Refused to Train With LeBron James

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Two years ago, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had turned down offers to train with the likes of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in the off-season. For Antetokounmpo, it felt “weird” to train with his competitors.

“I can’t work out with you in the summer and then play you in a few months,” he told The Athletic in December 2018. “It feels weird. It doesn’t feel right with me. Like other players, it’s cool for other players, but I don’t. I don’t want to. Other guys do it.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo has a different style than LeBron James, felt Dwyane Wade
One of the reasons Giannis refused, Dwyane Wade believed, was because his playing style was different. Wade was James’ teammate for four years at Miami Heat. They were famously a part of the big three in Miami along with Chris Bosh winning two titles in their four years together. Wade believed he and LeBron changed the way one can be competitive. They did not follow Kobe Bryant‘s footprint of being competitive but brought something new.

“We (he and LeBron) changed the way of thinking on how one can be competitive. But this doesn’t fit to anybody’s playing style. You also have the “Mamba Mentality” of Kobe Bryant,” he said.

He believed Giannis was more inclined towards the “Mamba Mentality” and their style wasn’t suitable for him.

“Our style is not suitable for Kobe and it is not suitable for Giannis either. He and Kobe have the same mentality. But it worked for us, eventually,” Wade said.

Perhaps Antetokounmpo’s attitude is a lot like Bryant’s. After all, he had admired the Lakers legend all his life. When Bryant died in January earlier this year, Giannis called him “Michael Jordan” of his generation. It is not surprising, with what Bryant had achieved over his career. His attitude and work ethic was an inspiration to many. He certainly left a void when he retired from basketball in 2016.

Giannis has previously talked about how Bryant has helped him shape his career. Antetokounmpo is currently one of the best players in the league. He is also one of the favorites to win the NBA MVP award for the second consecutive season.


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