The Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered an early exit from the NBA Playoffs at the hands of Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.
In the postgame press conference, Antetokounmpo was asked whether he viewed the season as a “failure” and he gave a refreshingly raw answer to the question.
“You asked me the same question last year, I think. Do you get a promotion every year? No, right? So, every year you work is a failure? Yes or no? No. Every year you work, you work toward something – to a goal – which is to get a promotion, to be able to take care of your family, to be able to provide a house for them or take care of your parents. You work toward a goal. It’s not a failure. It’s steps to success,” he said.
“Michael Jordan played 15 years. Won six championships. The other nine years was a failure? … Exactly, so why you ask me that question. It’s the wrong question.
“There’s no failure in sports. There’s good days, bad days, some days you are able to be successful, some days you are not, some days it is your turn, some days it’s not. That’s what sports is about. You don’t always win. Some other group is gonna win and this year someone else is gonna win. Simple as that. We’re gonna come back next year and try to be better, try to build good habits, try to play better.
“So, 50 years from 1971 to 2021 we didn’t win a championship, it was 50 years of failure? No it was not. There were steps to it. And we were able to win one and hopefully we can win another one.”
Butler had to play above and beyond in Games 4 and 5 to help the Heat pull off the stunning upset. In the overtime win, Butler hit the game-tying fadeaway shot to send the game into the extra period. He had 42 points on 17-of-33 from the field with eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Antetokounmpo had been banged up during the series. He led Milwaukee with 38 points, 20 rebounds and three assists in the loss.
Milwaukee was the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference after finishing the year with the best record in the NBA.