Giannis: 'Feels Weird' to Work Out with Rivals; Rejected Carmelo, LeBron Invites

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 19: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dunks over LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena on March 19, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Bucks 124-117. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo said he's not interested in working out with fellow NBA players despite offers to do offseason training alongside the likes of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.

On Friday, Eric Nehm of The Athletic provided comments from the MVP candidate about why he's rejected those high-profile invitations in recent years.

"I can't work out with you in the summer and then play you in a few months," Antetokounmpo said. "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."

The 24-year-old Greece native added he's not a fan of the overly friendly culture that's developed among the NBA's elite players in the modern era.

"I hate it when…" Antetokounmpo said while doing a mock pose for a picture. "I hate that. I don't want [opponents] to see me to be buddy-buddy with me."

His old-school mindset is matched by an aggressive on-court play style.

Antetokounmpo is averaging 26.8 points, 13.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks while shooting 57.7 percent from the field through 23 appearances this season. He ranks third in the NBA in player efficiency rating, according to ESPN.com.

The Greek Freak's scoring average is sixth in the league, and he does it without the benefit of a reliable three-point shot (0.3 threes per contest). That's exceedingly rare for wing and backcourt players in today's game, and even post players have started to embrace the three.

Giannis doesn't have any interest in showing other players his keys to success, though.

"I feel like with LeBron and KD [Kevin Durant], KD did that to LeBron," Antetokounmpo told The Athletic about their prior workouts together. "Take a lot of his thoughts and use it against him. And that's what I don't want guys doing to me."

It's a rare outlook for a current NBA player, but it's impossible to argue with the results.


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