Whoa: Giannis Antetokounmpo Thought About "Walking Away" From the Game in 2020

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Whoa: Giannis Antetokounmpo Thought About “Walking Away” From the Game in 2020

Chicago Bulls, NBA, News

Giannis Antetokounmpo considered leaving his NBA career behind.

In an extremely vulnerable interview with Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Giannis Antetokounmpo divulged that he considered exiting basketball back in 2020.

Here’s the snippet:

“If something doesn’t make me happy, I don’t do it. I don’t want to do it. I’m just going to stay home, stay with my kids, stay with my family and try to be happy. I don’t care.

“And this was right when I signed the largest contract in NBA history.

“In 2020, I was ready to walk away from the game. I had that conversation – yes – with the front office.

“And, you know, very normally, everybody is looking at me like I was crazy. ‘You just signed the largest contract in NBA history and you want to walk away from the game and all that money…?’

“Mannnnn, you can take that money and shove it into your…”

His youngest son coughs; Giannis continues.

“…Sorry for my language.

“But. I don’t care about that. I care about joy. I’m a joyful person. My father didn’t have nothing; he had us. He was the richest person on earth because he had his kids. He had the beautiful family; he had nothing. This – to me – doesn’t mean nothing.”

Antetokounmpo shared these words when discussing his own journey with mental health. He was honest about the toll that superstardom and high expectations started to take on his day-to-day life. This led him to therapy, which he went on to say helped him appreciate himself and better understand what areas of his life he could control.

The Chicago Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan has become a strong mental health advocate for the NBA, and the same can be said about the Miami Heat’s Kevin Love. Both players were mentioned in the story for the work they’ve done in removing the stigma about speaking out. Antetokounmpo is now another massive name to join the conversation. And I have nothing but respect for his decision to do so.

Likewise, what he and his family appear to be doing with the Charles Antetokounmpo Family Foundation is truly impressive. This story by Nickel was written with that in mind, as Antetokounmpo recently added a partnership that is helping local Milwaukee residents receive free mental health care.

Anyway, I strongly encourage you to give the article a full read here. While I know the Bulls’ future might look that much better without Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Central Division, I’m glad he sought out the help he needed and stuck around. These kinds of things are bigger than basketball.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.