Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetkounmpo busted out a highly contentious celebration back in 2019 as they hosted LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Giannis caught fire in that game, and after hitting a career-high fifth 3-pointer on the evening, Antetokounmpo decided to crown himself.
More than a few folks saw this gesture as a slight against LeBron, who himself has long been known as “The King.” Below is a clip of the incident in question:
Did Giannis disrespect LeBron on this occasion as he crowned himself as the new king? Well, if you ask the Bucks talisman, his impromptu celebration had nothing to do with James (h/t Talkin' NBA on Twitter):
“First of all, it was nothing against LeBron,” Giannis said. “That's my last name. ‘Ante' means crown.”
Giannis then went on to provide a brief etymology of his name as he clarified that the crown celebration was by no means directed at LeBron.
Despite the fact that Antetokounmpo has cleared the air on this matter, it's still hard to overlook the coincidence. I don't particularly remember Giannis busting out this particular celebration either before or after that evening, and it's pretty interesting that he decided to perform that specific gesture after showing off against LeBron and the Lakers.
For what it's worth, however, it's hard to argue that Giannis Antetokounmpo does have a claim to LeBron's crown once the latter calls it a career. Father time is ever so slowly catching up to The King, and once he hangs it up, Giannis would indeed be an excellent heir to the throne.