Earlier this offseason, former NBA star Gilbert Arenas came under heavy fire from NBA players, experts and fans when he brought Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo’s basketball IQ into question.
After receiving heavy criticism, Arenas has come forward to try to explain his original statement once again. He said that he would not put Antetokounmpo among the players who are considered to have the highest basketball IQ in the game today.
“Let’s go to the mental side,” he said during a recent episode of his own podcast. “Is he smarter than Chris Paul? Is he smarter than LeBron James? Is he smarter than [Stephen] Curry, Klay [Thompson], Draymond [Green], Kawhi Leonard, [Nikola] Jokic, Luka [Doncic]? If he doesn’t rank number one in that, that’s what I mean.
This is not the first time he’s tried to walk back his initial words, but many still seem more caught up on what he originally said about the two-time MVP. Arenas is making a solid point here it seems. He is simply stating that he does not consider Antetokounmpo to be amongst the most savvy players in the league.
It will be interesting to see if people decide to give Arenas a pass on this one or push him further.
In the end, it appears that the major issue people have is the idea that Arenas, a player who was good during his time in the league but is in no way an all-time great, feels emboldened to criticize a player like Antetokounmpo. After all, Antetokounmpo could easily go down as one of the greatest players of all time when all is said and done.
He’s already won two MVP awards and has one championship under his belt. That is already far more than Arenas ever accomplished in his career.
Still, it does seem a little misguided for people to think that Arenas was questioning Antetokounmpo’s talent or ability on the court. He wasn’t doing that. This statement is hopefully the final one on the matter so that everyone can go back to looking forward to the upcoming campaign.