Giannis Antetokounmpo says Bucks’ season wasn’t ‘failure’

Giannis says Bucks’ season wasn’t ‘failure’ despite playoff exit originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round playoff collapse against the Miami Heat was plenty of things. Historic, unexpected and disappointing come to mind, but the team’s superstar doesn’t think it qualifies as a “failure.”

The team with the best record during the 2022-23 NBA regular season was ousted just five games into its first-round series, marking just the sixth time a No. 8 seed has eliminated a No. 1 seed in the NBA playoffs. Milwaukee’s postseason run ended with a 128-126 overtime loss on its home floor, where it relinquished a 16-point fourth-quarter lead and failed to get up a game-tying attempt before the overtime horn sounded.

Giannis Antetokounmpo took exception with a question about whether the Bucks’ season was a failure following the stunning Game 5 defeat.

“It's not a failure; it's steps to success,” Antetokounmpo said. “There's always steps to it. Michael Jordan played 15 years, won six championships. The other nine years was a failure? That's what you're telling me?

“It's a wrong question; there's no failure in sports. There's good days, bad days. Some days you're able to be successful, some days you're not. Some days it's your turn, some days it's not your turn. And that's what sports is about. You don't always win. Sometimes other people win. And this year somebody else is going to win, simple as that.”

Many people across Twitter loved the perspective from Antetokounmpo, a two-time NBA MVP who led the Bucks to a Finals triumph in 2021.

Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley also shared some differing views on Antetokounmpo’s answer.

Antetokounmpo injured his back in Game 1 of the series and proceeded to miss Games 2 and 3. He returned for Game 4 in Miami posted a triple-double, though Jimmy Butler’s 56-point masterpiece put the Bucks on the brink of elimination. Butler and Co. finished the job on Wednesday despite 38 points and 20 rebounds from Antetokounmpo.

Here's the second-round schedule for the 2023 NBA Playoffs

The Heat will now prepare for the No. 5 seed New York Knicks in the second round, while Antetokounmpo and the Bucks will turn their attention to the 2023-24 season.