Leon Bennett/Getty Images
Cue the NBA Twitter overreaction bullhorns: An NBA superstar said he’s open to playing for a different franchise than the one he’s under contract with.
Giannis Antetokounmpo awakened the NBA takedom from its typical August doldrums by admitting he could see himself playing for the Chicago Bulls someday.
When asked on The Sports Zone if he ever thought about playing for the Bulls, Antetokounmpo said:
“I think anybody you ask that question that plays basketball, if he said no, he’d be a liar. It’s a team that won multiple championships. It’s a team with one of the greatest players—if not the greatest player to ever play this game—played for. It’s a no-brainer. Everybody would love to play for Chicago. Down the line, you never know. You never know how life brings it. Maybe I’ll play for Chicago, but right now I’m committed to Milwaukee.”
Of course, the most important part of that quote is the final sentence, where Antetokounmpo reaffirms his commitment to Milwaukee. He’s under contract through at least the next three seasons and did nothing besides honestly answer a question presented to him.
Did that stop NBA Twitter from cranking up the Photoshop and takes machine? Of course not.
𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣’ 𝙉𝘽𝘼 @_Talkin_NBA
When 36 year old Giannis signs with us 🙏 pic.twitter.com/OHAX5an4X7
Bleacher Nation Bulls @BN_Bulls
Giannis toying with our hearts after breaking them in the playoffs is pure evil 😭 https://t.co/VBFFR7Tm0X
bulls fans becoming giannis fans after saying all he does is “run people over” the past 3 years https://t.co/FSvVU9ZLEi < a href="https://t.co/fe1QuBqETr">pic.twitter.com/fe1QuBqETr
The CaruShow🐐 @Como_te_llamaz
“Giannis now tell them you would play for the Bulls” pic.twitter.com/vGVUSM7EeY
strong independent woman @bulls_cubs2223
Giannis to the Bulls??? pic.twitter.com/2M8oKGTpCt
𝓙𝓮𝓻𝓮𝓶𝓲𝓪𝓱 🔮† @Jeremiah_S17
Idk if bros trolling or not pic.twitter.com/21FXfKF5T0
As some of the fans rightfully noted, Giannis is masterful at playing the trolling game, but it’s unlikely he was pulling any legs while appearing on a local news program.
Even though Antetokounmpo’s favorite player growing up was Allen Iverson, the impact Michael Jordan had on the game of basketball is unimpeachable. The Bulls haven’t reached an NBA Finals since Jordan left the franchise in 1998, but they remain one of the league’s marquee franchises a quarter-century later—in large part because MJ’s aura gives Chicago a sense of importance.
It’s overwhelmingly unlikely Antetokounmpo leaves Milwaukee for Chicago. If there’s one possible way he could ruin his legacy in the eyes of Bucks fans, it’s to bolt for the bigger city only 90 minutes down the road.
That said, Antetokounmpo opened the door for Bulls fans to dream.