But apparently that wasn’t the case. Antetokounmpo admitted after Tuesday’s practice in Orlando, Florida, that he was just saying that to gain an edge on his peers.
“Anybody out there that thought I didn’t have access to a gym, they don’t even know me,” Antetokounmpo said, laughing. “So, I just said that to try to get a little bit ahead of the competition.”
In April, Antetokounmpo told reporters on a conference call: “So, I don’t have access to hoop. A lot of NBA players have a court in their house or something, but now I just get home workouts. Ride the bike, treadmill, lift weights and pretty much stay sharp that way, but I don’t play basketball.”
Before the hiatus, Antetokounmpo made a strong case to win another MVP trophy, as he averaged a career-best 29.6 points and 13.7 rebounds in 30.9 minutes as the Bucks held the NBA’s best record at 53-12.
On Friday, the NBA informed teams that none of the upcoming seeding games will be taken into consideration for regular-season individual awards, such as MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. Antetokounmpo could become the third player in league history to win both awards in the same season.
To no surprise, Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo is deserving of consecutive MVPs for his “significant body of work.”
However, Antetokounmpo is locked in on a bigger goal.
“To be honest with you, I really haven’t thought about it. I saw it a couple days ago, that it ended. I tried not to focus on the MVP talks — who’s the MVP and all that. My goal is to get better each day to help my team win games and everything is going to take care of itself,” Antetokounmpo said. “That’s what happened last year. I was locked in and winning games and helping my teammates, and it took care of itself. So, that was my main focus. Now, I know it’s going to be a lot of people out there talking about the MVP, but that’s not my main focus.
“My main focus is to get better, win games, help my team play good basketball and go and try to win the big trophy. The last time we did that was ’71, so that’s my main focus right now.”