Giannis Antetokounmpo has a mean streak…apparently.
The Milwaukee Bucks fell to the shorthanded Utah Jazz on Saturday night, 121-108, and their early MVP candidate wasn’t happy. At one point, he took out his frustrations on a little old, unsuspecting chair:
That’s not all he did, though. He also starting yelling at Bucks assistant coach Sean Sweeney, ostensibly telling him “I will f**k you up.”
Here’s the context, via Deadspin’s Chris Thompson:
Giannis’s rage was apparently not fully released upon the chair. Bucks assistant coach Sean Sweeney must’ve said something to him, because cameras caught Giannis shouting “I will fuck you up” at Sweeney as Sweeney gestured boldly behind a line of players and coaches.
And here is said video:
Giannis yelling “I’ll fuck you up” at Coach Sweeney pic.twitter.com/OQjS8K0BIh
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) November 26, 2017
Before you make this into a thing, don’t. Antetokounmpo expanded upon the matter soon after it happened, per the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel‘s Matt Velazquez:
“That’s what me and Sweeney do,” Antetokounmpo said, later pointing to Sweeney grinning across the gym and remarking that Sweeney is usually loath to crack a smile. “You always fight with your brothers. It’s something common. Me and Sweeney we’re so tight. He always speaks the truth to me and I always speak the truth to him. We’ve done this in the past, just this time it was caught on national TV.
“But me and Sweeney we’re OK, that’s what we do — we fight, we argue, but at the end of the day, we both want to win. I don’t think there’s anybody from this team who wants to win more than Sweeney and me and coach (Jason) Kidd, of course.”
Antetokounmpo’s anger is understandable on some level. This probably isn’t so much a personal conflict with Sweeney so much as general frustration over the Bucks’ situation. They’re now 9-9, and they wouldn’t make the playoffs if they started today. Opponents are outscoring them by 2.2 points per 100 possessions overall, according to NBA.com, giving them the sixth-worst net rating in the entire league. The defense continues to struggle, though it’s doing a better job of forcing turnovers, and the offense’s top-10 placement is history.
This has to sting for someone like Antetokounmpo, who, despite his oft-friendly demeanor, cares deeply about winning. That Eric Bledsoe’s arrival hasn’t completely remedied the Bucks’ on-again, off-again relationship with victories most likely doesn’t sit well with him—or with anyone on the team, for that matter.