Giannis Antetokounmpo wanted to keep the ball as a souvenir of the day he set a personal scoring record for the Milwaukee Bucks, but the ball was hidden by their opponent Indiana Pacers.
The December 14 match was the third time the Bucks met the Pacers this season. Antetokounmpo and his teammates ended two losing matches against their opponents with a 140-126 victory. In particular, Antetokounmpo scored 64 points, contributed 14 rebounds, three assists and four steals. The star known as the “Greek Demigod” entered Bucks history when he created a new scoring record, surpassing the milestone of 57 points set by Michael Redd on November 11, 2006
On the day of setting a personal record, the best NBA player in 2019 and 2020 wants to bring home the match ball. However, Pacers members took the opportunity to get the ball and bring it back as a souvenir for Oscar Tshiebwe – the rookie player who had just scored his first point in the NBA.
When he discovered that the ball was taken by the Pacers, Antetokounmpo angrily ran into the visiting team’s locker room while Bucks staff prevented him. Realizing that the home superstar came in to demand the ball, Pacers’ pillars like Buddy Hield or Myles Turner shouted loudly to their teammates: “Hold the ball, don’t let him get it back.”
On the Bucks side, Antetokounmpo’s teammates also ran in and demanded the ball be returned by their opponents. The Greek superstar then returned to the field looking frustrated, threatening the best player on the Pacers side, Tyrese Haliburton: “Go in there and get the ball out here.” On social networks, many fans joked that the Pacers defended the ball better than they protected the basket during the game.
After the two sides exchanged words, Antetokounmpo still received a ball but he did not believe it was actually the ball of the match. “I don’t know anymore,” the 29-year-old superstar said in the press conference room after the match. “I don’t know if it was the ball used in the match or not. I feel like it’s a completely new ball. It can’t be helped.”
Antetokounmpo won the NBA championship with the Bucks in 2021, after defeating the Phoenix Suns 4-2 in the final. In game 6 – the game that decided the final that year, the Greek player also wanted to bring the ball back as a souvenir but failed.
This season, Antetokounmpo is still in good form with an average of 32 points, 10.8 rebounds, and five assists per game, helping the Bucks win 17 and lose 7, temporarily ranked second in the East.