Giannis Antetokounmpo has heard Gilbert Arenas' criticisms, but he's not going to let the words of a "bitter" ex-NBA player bother him.
The Milwaukee Bucks star addressed Arenas' comments during an appearance on Sirius XM NBA Radio's The Starting Lineup on Friday and sent a shot back at the former Washington Wizard.
"Does it bother me? I'm not going to lie, it makes me want to work harder," Antetokounmpo said. "Do I go back home and think about it and I can't sleep? Not necessarily. But at the end of the day, hey, I don't know, when I am 45 years old, 50 years old, I might be, you know, a little bit bitter, too. I might be seeing, you know, this 20-year-old making, signing a three-year, $900 million. ... Maybe, I don't know, but I don't think so.
"Because I'm grateful for everything that God has blessed me with, for my kids, for my brothers, for my family, for my father, you know, for my son and the people I work with. I'm grateful for it. And I don't think I'm going to be like that."
While it was couched in a longer answer, there was one key word there: bitter. Antetokounmpo likely views Arenas as someone with an ax to grind rather than someone who is giving valid criticism.
Arenas recently bashed Giannis during multiple media appearances, saying the two-time MVP "doesn't understand basketball."
"The media says he's the best player in the league. Not even close. Just stop it!" Arenas recently said on the No Chill podcast. "I can look at his game and say he doesn't understand basketball yet. He plays the sport, he won a championship, cool. But he doesn't really understand how to be better, how to train his body."
The lack of objective validity in Arenas' claims makes him easy to dismiss. Antetokounmpo has already accomplished more at age 27 than Arenas did in his entire NBA career; it isn't even particularly close. Giannis has one championship to Arenas' zero; one Finals MVP to Arenas' zero; two MVPs to Arenas' zero; one Defensive Player of the Year to Arenas' zero...OK, you get the point.
Couple that with the fact that Antetokounmpo accomplished all of those feats after having never played at a higher level than Greece's second division before reaching the NBA, and it's easy to see why Giannis sleeps well at night.