NBA

Giannis on 'terrible' headbutt: I've done a great job taking hits, but today was the day!

By Sports Desk August 12, 2020

Giannis Antetokounmpo expressed his regret after being ejected for headbutting Mo Wagner but added he had "done a great job all year and in my career" to ignore "dirty plays".

The reigning NBA MVP left the Milwaukee Bucks' 126-113 win over the Washington Wizards in the second quarter following the incident with Wagner.

Antetokounmpo had 12 points and nine rebounds in just 10 minutes before his frustration boiled over.

The Greek was rueful afterwards, promised to learn from the clash and insisted there was no personal issue with Wagner, although he also took the opportunity to complain of the repeated rough treatment he feels he is dealt in the league.

"It's a terrible action," he told reporters. "If I could turn back time and go back to that play, I wouldn't do it. But at the end of the day, we're all human, we all make mistakes.

"I think I've done a great job all year and in my career, keeping my composure and focusing on the game. But like I say, we're all human, we all make mistakes.

"I'll learn from it, keeping playing good basketball and keep moving forward.

"I don't think I was frustrated with Wagner. I think it was just the whole build-up of dirty plays in my mind, guys tripping me, guys falling in front of my feet, holding me, hitting me.

"I have nothing against Wagner - it wasn't just him. Just in my mind, in all the games I've played, there's guys hitting me. I lost it for a second.

"Like I said, if I could go back, I'd change it so I could stay in the game. I've got to live with it. It's a bad mistake from me, I'll learn from it.

"I'm glad we were able to play good basketball, I'm happy we were having fun and were able to win the game. We've got to keep getting ready for the playoffs."

Suggesting such an episode had been coming for some time, Antetokounmpo said he would work to ensure there was no repeat.

"Usually I try to just stay focused, finish the game, don't do something stupid," he said.

"But there's always times when you're in the zone and you don't think. It might take a second or two, you don't think and you do something dumb.

"My whole career I've had great team-mates around me, great coaching staff, and I think I've done a great job being locked in, not feeling much from what the other team's game plan is, what they're trying to accomplish from hitting me.

"But, man, today was the day. Hopefully it's the last one. I know the hits are going to keep coming."

Asked what his team-mates had told him, Antetokounmpo said: "They told me to learn from it, that they need me on the floor, they need me out there playing good basketball.

"I've got to be a leader. I've got to learn from this. I'm happy now, but this could happen in the playoffs, it could happen in a big game.

"They're 100 per cent right. It's my fault, fellas. They're 100 per cent right. But they know me, they know I've done a great job keeping my composure.

"They said, 'okay, it's acceptable, it's human for Giannis to lose it for a second once'. But they told me I've got to learn from it, they're 100 per cent right, and hopefully it doesn't repeat itself in the future."

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