Giannis Antetokounmpo claims he was misquoted when interviewed by Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse and student Melcolm Ruffin for their co-authored case study on the franchise.
The following quote was attributed to Antetokounmpo:
“I want the Bucks to build a winning culture. So far, we have been doing great, and, if this lasts, there’s no other place I want to be. But if we’re underperforming in the NBA next year, deciding whether to sign becomes a lot more difficult.”
Antetokounmpo flatly denied supplying that quote.
“As I’ve said, there’s going to be a lot of stories that are going to come out," Antetokounmpo said. "Everybody knows how sensitive this timing is and they’re going to come out with a bunch of stories and all that.
"My girlfriend, Mariah, asked me yesterday, ‘Did you actually say this?’ I said, ‘If you kind of read the last quote, I’ve never used those words in my life.’ But I’m not going to talk about this, I’m just going to focus on this season and I’ve said in the past, it’s disrespectful, man. We’re facing the Houston Rockets, a championship-level team tonight. …
"We have a goal which is play 'til the end and I’m not going to talk about my free agency at all this season, I’m not going to distract my teammates. The attention’s not going to be on me, it’s going to be on this team and what we’ve got to do to win.”
Bucks co-owner Jamie Dinan said he doesn't believe Antetokounmpo was misquoted.
“I wasn’t in the room when (Antetokounmpo) said it,” Dinan said, “so I don’t know if they goaded him a little bit to kind of get some conflict.”
Dinan added: “He clearly said it because she (Elberse) said he said it and she taped it.”