Giannis Antetokounmpo Backed George Hill’s Decision to Sit Out Playoff Game

Giannis gave Hill his support after the guard received criticism from other players over decision

Giannis Hill Bucks
George Hill talks with Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter in Game Five during the 2020 NBA Playoffs on August 29, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

George Hill, one of the leaders of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to sit out Wednesday’s NBA playoff game against the Orlando Magic, had a key piece of support from the team’s star, Giannis Antetokounmpo. According to a report from The Athletic, Antetokounmpo backed Hill after the latter received backlash from other players for the isolated decision to sit out without consulting the rest of the league.

Antetokounmpo said that he told Hill he was proud of him for the decision, and that he had his back over it:

I told him, “Don’t you second guess. Don’t you ever forget what you did. This is big, man. Just being a part of it and when I saw you lead the team and doing the right thing and saying you’re not playing because you want things to be right. That’s who I want to be when I grow up. That’s why I followed you. I love you. And I’m happy for you. And I’m happy that we’re on the same team, man.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Hill also spoke to The Athletic, saying that the team didn’t do it to get notoriety, but rather because it felt like the right thing to do on a difficult day for the Bucks, whose home base is not far from Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Jacob Blake was shot seven time by police.

It was nothing that we were doing for a publicity stunt. It’s something that we did from our heart. We were tired of different things going on in this world. We wanted action, we wanted things to be held accountable, and we decided to do this as a team.

George Hill

There were reports following the Bucks’ strike that players around the league were blindsided by the choice, and that they wish Milwaukee had spoken to them before putting them in a no-win situation.

The Athletic report’s also dives into how the decision was made; Hill had talked to coach Mike Budenholzer and said he would sit out. His teammates figured out what happened, starting with Sterling Brown, who was assaulted by police in 2018. Once Brown was on board with the strike, the rest of the team supported them by joining in.

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