Giannis Antetokounmpo reveals who he would pick first at the All-Star Game

Yahoo Sports
Bucks forward <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/5185/" data-ylk="slk:Giannis Antetokounmpo">Giannis Antetokounmpo</a> leads the NBA in All-Star voting. (AP)
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the NBA in All-Star voting. (AP)

The NBA revamped its All-Star Game rules this year, so the leading vote-getters from each conference will now serve as captains and pick sides playground-style from the remaining pool of 22 players.

So, when Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo surprisingly led everyone in the NBA’s first round of voting results, he was asked who he would pick first, and that answer is far less surprising.

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“First of all, if my teammates are available, I’m going with my teammates,” he told reporters from shootaround on Friday, “but if not, I’ve got to go with LeBron James — best player in the world.”

While Antetokounmpo would have his pick of players from either conference, save for whoever would serve as captain of the West (Kevin Durant is currently in line for that honor), it’s hard to pass up the four-time MVP when he’s on the board, even if guys like James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry are also submitting MVP-caliber seasons. And Giannis has some added incentive to pick LeBron first:

“So we can have a good relationship for the free agency. You never know, he might come play here.”

Smart man, this Greek Freak. And wouldn’t that be terrifying. Giannis and LeBron. Good lord.

The thought hadn’t crossed my mind, since we’ve heard Los Angeles, Houston and other citiess mentioned as possible destinations for James in free agency, but Milwaukee? Is that even possible?

Well, the Bucks would have to unload a few cumbersome contracts, like John Henson, Mirza Teletovic, Tony Snell and Matthew Dellavedova, who are slated to make a combined $41 million next season, and they would have to renounce their restricted free agency rights to Jabari Parker. But, sure, it’s possible.

The question, of course, would be whether LeBron James — the most recognizable figure in the sport — would want to live out his NBA days in Milwaukee, considering all the L.A. rumors that are fueled by his entertainment industry interests. Milwaukee does have a solid comedy scene for the “Trainwreck” star, and it has served as the setting for hit TV shows (“Happy Days”) and movies (“Bridesmaids”).

There’s also Eric Bledsoe, the fellow Klutch Sports client who LeBron has reportedly tried to steer to Cleveland on multiple occasions. This is all starting to fall into place. If LeBron wants to trade in another veteran-laden roster for a younger core he can contend with, what better place to start than Milwaukee, where he and the 23-year-old Antetokounmpo could wreak havoc alongside Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Thon Maker and whatever other long-armed anomalies want to enter this experiment.

As far as the All-Star Game is concerned, the playground-style rules absolutely have to pair LeBron and Russell Westbrook opposite Kyrie and Durant, and Giannis taking James still makes that possible.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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