Giannis Antetokounmpo spoke more like a Greek philosopher than a Greek NBA star on Friday, but his wisdom of living in the moment may well help the Milwaukee Bucks win the NBA Finals.
The Bucks came back 2-0 to tie the Phoenix Suns at 2-2 in the best-of-seven championship series ahead of Saturday’s Game 5 in Phoenix.
Two-time NBA MVP Antetokounmpo, a 26-year-old forward, said Milwaukee was resilient by not dwelling on defeat or reflecting on his fate, but fighting one day and even one game away. that time.
“I feel like once you live in the present and enjoy the specific moment, you can fully enjoy that moment,” Antetokounmpo said. “Once you start thinking about the future, what’s going to happen, you’re kind of the loser in between.”
Tempted by ego and pride, Antetokounmpo chose humility, his words being a modern version of wise advice that classical Greek philosophers like Socrates, Plato or Aristotle could have offered.
“In my experience, when I think of, ‘Oh, yeah, I did that, I’m so awesome,’ usually the next day you’re gonna suck. It’s that simple. The next few days, you it’s going to be terrible, ”Antetokounmpo said.
“I found a mindset so that when you focus on the past it’s your ego. When I focus on the future it’s my pride. ‘Yes, the next game I do this and that, I’m going to dominate. ‘It’s your pride speaking.
“I try to focus on the moment, in the present. It’s humility. It creates no expectations. It’s going out, enjoying the game, competing at a high level.
“It’s like a skill. I’ve tried to master it. It’s worked so far, so I’m not going to stop.”
After two performances of 40 points and a magnificent block on Deandre Ayton of Phoenix, Antetokounmpo has much to be proud of, if he dwelled on such things.
“I appreciate the moment. Great moment. We have to move on,” Antetokounmpo said.
“Ultimately that’s in the past. Gone. I have to keep making winning plays. I have to keep competing. I have to keep finding ways to help my team be great.”
Antetokounmpo notes the difference between boastful thoughts of future games and goal setting with specific steps to take to achieve them.
“That’s the goal. It’s the plan. There are steps. You do little things. Being in the present allows you to do those things to get you there,” he said.
“If you try to jump (jump steps), you’re going to fall into the cliff.
“For me it works. I’m enjoying my life. I love spending time with my family. It might not work for everyone. Some people might think differently.
“You have to invest in yourself. It will make you enjoy more of your life. That is the goal, to enjoy every moment that you can. You will not be happy all the time, but it is to have happiness. “
– “The ball becomes heavy” –
In the case of the Bucks, it was about knowing that they can rally to 0-2 deficits, as they did by ousting Brooklyn in the second round and hope to do so against the Suns. Only four times in NBA Finals history has a team lost the first two games and then won the title.
“We have worked extremely hard throughout the year to develop winning habits,” said Antetopkounmpo. “We don’t care about the outcome. We just worry about going out there, making lots of plays, competing as hard as possible, doing it together.
“We are able to know that when we are down we always find ways to win games.”
Antetokounmpo doesn’t care about finding a balance where he doesn’t cramp in the fourth quarter like he sometimes did in the final.
“I prefer to have cramps. It means I pushed myself too hard,” he said. “I can sleep at night. I know I gave it my all.”
Noting the pressures of his first NBA Finals, Antetokounmpo said: “The ball can get a little heavy on the stretch,” but denied being too nervous.
“Oh, hell no,” he said. “The ball gets heavy, but if you just think about winning and you don’t think about what’s going to happen next. My mind is so busy with that, I don’t think about the pressure.”
© 2021 AFP