Los Angeles, United States—For Giannis Antetokounmpo, hearing people mentioning that he is the current NBA MVP is not to his liking—he wants to achieve so much more in the sport.
“I don’t like to hear that all the time. I am a man fighting for food, for his position. That’s what I learned since I was a little kid, fighting every day, that was and is my life,” Antetokounmpo said in an interview with the Greek sports website contra.gr posted on Thursday (Friday Philippine time).
The 24-year-old forward admitted that many elements of his game need improvement, “like my shooting and my dribbling. I’m still at 60 to 70 percent of my potential.”
Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo scored 30 points to propel the Bucks to a 117-111 victory in Houston Thursday, spoiling the debut of newly formed Rockets star duo James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
In a battle featuring the last three NBA Most Valuable Players it was reigning MVP Antetokounmpo who emerged the winner, notching the first triple-double of the season before he fouled out with just over five minutes remaining.
By then, the Greek superstar had amassed a triple-double of 30 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, scoring 20 points in the second half to help the Bucks rally from a 16-point third-quarter deficit.
Antetokounmpo became the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1966 to post a 30-plus point triple-double in his opening game of a season.
Antetokounmpo, born in Greece to Nigerian parents, has been a three-time NBA All-Star selection for the Milwaukee Bucks who he joined in 2013 after one year with Greek side Filathlitikos.
He trained with the men’s and sometimes even with the women’s team at Filathlitikos.
“I spent all day on the court. Many times I even slept there, on a blue mattress,” Antetokounmpo said, who grew up in poverty.
His commitment to the goal of becoming one of the best basketball players of all time remains unchanged.
“For me, it’s not only a matter of winning or losing. What I also think about is that I want to be one of the top players that have ever played the game. Even if I have given my best performance, I can never rest. I have reached this point because I am extremely competitive,” Antetokounmpo said.
The other target that he has set for this season is winning the championship with the Bucks.
“I’m closing in on the seventh season in Milwaukee. My goal this year is to win the championship with the Bucks, which is something that requires a lot of work,” he said.