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Giannis Says He Didn't Intend to Disrespect LeBron James with 2019 Crown Celebration

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 21, 2022

Pedja Milosavljevic/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo told ESPN's Malika Andrews on NBA Today Wednesday that he didn't mean to slight Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James with his "crown" celebration during a 111-104 win in Dec. 2019.

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🔥 5 3PM FOR GIANNIS 🔥<br><br>The Greek Freak (30 PTS) is up to a career-high from behind the arc!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FearTheDeer?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FearTheDeer</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/NBAonTNT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBAonTNT</a> <a href="https://t.co/YT94pDmsuJ">pic.twitter.com/YT94pDmsuJ</a>

"It was nothing against LeBron," Antetokounmpo said. "That's my last name. It means crown."

Antetokoumpo previously noted his name's meaning in an Instagram story in Oct. 2018, per Nick Kampouris of the Greek Reporter. In the post, Antetokounmpo's mother, Veronica, appeared in an image wearing a shirt that reads "the crown from across the seas."

Antetokounmpo was rolling in that game when he made the crown gesture. He had just hit his fifth three-pointer en route to 34 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. The season ended with him winning his second straight NBA MVP award.

Antetokounmpo became an NBA champion the following year, cementing his Finals MVP status with a 50-point performance to cap a six-game series win over the Phoenix Suns.

He's indisputably one of the kings and faces of the league these days, as is James, who is entering his 20th NBA season and has four NBA championships, four NBA MVP awards and 18 All-Star appearances to his name.

Seeing James and Antetokounmpo on the court together is always must-see action, and that will be the case again this season. The Bucks will host L.A. on Fri., Dec. 2, while the Lakers will welcome Milwaukee into town on Thu., Feb. 9.

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