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Giannis Antetokounmpo Sides With Noah Lyles On World Champions Debate

BEIJING, CHINA - JULY 9: NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo attends a promotional event during his visit to China on July 9, 2023 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images) BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - AUGUST 26: Gold medalist Noah Lyles of Team United States celebrates with their gold medal on the podium after the Men's 200m Final during day eight of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 at National Athletics Centre on August 26, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo spoke out in support of sprinter Noah Lyles’ critique of the term “world champions.” Lyles’s statements, upon saying them, were instantly met with criticism.

Several NBA players criticized Lyles over his remarks, including Kevin Durant, Tyrese Haliburton, and Draymond Green. Rapper Drake also chimed in to support NBA players. However, Antetokounmpo looked to defend Lyles in his statements.

“I might get some backlash for this, but I really do not care. I totally agree with [Lyles].”

Giannis Antetokounmpo said on the 48 Minutes podcast

As an NBA player who is a foreign-born, Antetokounmpo adds a unique perspective to the discussion. No matter how strong the NBA is compared to other international leagues, in his opinion, winning the title does not automatically make you the world champion.

“I don’t think in any other sport, you are called the world champions. You know, like in soccer, which is way bigger than the NBA.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The 28-year-old is aware that although the NBA is the best league in the world, it isn’t really representative of the entire planet because it is only based in the United States and Canada.

The fact that the NBA boasts the bulk of the top players in the world, including foreign superstars like Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, and No. 1 overall draft pick Victor Wembanyama in 2023, is noteworthy.

In soccer leagues, that isn’t always the case. Many of the stars are dispersed across several nations and take on a variety of opponents. While Lyles has faced a lot of backlash for his comments, Antetokounmpo coming to his defense is major. This conversation will look to reignite when the Olympics take place next year.