Giannis: Pressure and mental health in NBA playoffs. Plus: The sport he really wanted to play
Giannis Antetokounmpo talks about the impact of mental health and pressure during this year’s NBA playoffs as opposed to last year’s NBA bubble.
“You’re going to have a lot of anxiety, but pressure is earned” is his approach to this topic. The Milwaukee Bucks‘ two-time MVP sees pressure as a sign of accomplishment and success in your job. “If you’re not good at what you do, there’s not going to be any pressure” he explained after the Bucks’ win over the Miami Heat in game 2 of the NBA playoffs’ round 1.
“It’s a little bit easier this year than last year in the bubble. This year we have the opportunity to sleep in our beds, be around our friends, be around our family, be in our own practice facility, play in front of our fans, have 50 thousand people cheering for you. It takes a little bit of the toll and the pressure away for a second but, at the end of the day, we are in a sport that has a lot of pressure” Giannis added. “We gotta be able to cope with it, enjoy what we do, have fun with what we do”.
Antetokounmpo goes on to explain his game-plan to deal with the double teaming and the fouls that are going to come from a very physical team, the Miami Heat. “I just have to keep my head in the game. I know a lot of players are going to try to hit me, especially with a team like Miami” Giannis said. ” I have to keep my composure and do what my team wants me to do: Be aggressive, keep making good plays and just play through it”.
Giannis talks about the team mindset at this point of the postseason and then reveals a detail not everyone knew: “I used to play soccer when I was younger. Dad used to be a soccer player, I loved soccer. I wanted to play soccer, I didn’t want to play basketball growing up” stated the 6’11” 242-pound Great Freak. Mother nature had other plans for him.