Damian Lillard snubs teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo in his ideal NBA starting five

Matthew Legros
Damian Lillard (left) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (right) communicating on the floor.

Damian Lillard left his Milwaukee Bucks teammate and two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo off of his dream starting five, raising questions regarding how he truly feels about his franchise leader.

Lillard was asked to name his personal NBA first five, and shockingly, his Bucks co-star Antetokounmpo was nowhere to be found.

The reigning 2024 All-Star Game MVP can’t use personal bias as an excuse, seeing that he included himself in the lineup.

His omission of the former Defensive Player of the Year would have been a topic of debate in any wise. However, Lillard’s true choices of the game’s best at each position comes at a bad time in his championship chase next to the “Greek Freak.”

Will Lillard’s choice cause a rift with Antetokounmpo?

Lillard put himself with Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors), LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns), and Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat) in an interview with Nelsontheprodigy_ posted on TikTok.

Of course, Lillard’s opinion is subjective, and includes some of the game’s best talents, all four of which were fellow All-Stars this year. But it was puzzling to see Lillard not include his own teammate and the leader of the Bucks.

Antetokounmpo has been looked at as one of the three best players in the Association for at least three seasons now. By omitting him from his top five, Lillard insinuated that his superstar team leader may not be on the same level as James, Durant, or Adebayo.

It only gets uglier, though. Antetokounmpo spoke to Eric Nehm of The Athletic in an interview released earlier today and sang Lillard’s praises on the highest mountaintop, saying this about his closing ability:

“I am his biggest fan. Good or bad, I ride with Dame until the f–king end. I ride with Dame. Like I’ve been saying this over and over again. This. Is. His. Team. Down the stretch, he’s going to get the ball. There’s nothing else that we will do. I don’t know how else to put it.”

The international superstar hasn’t reacted to his running mate’s snub, but there may be underlying tensions that bubbles from this, especially if the Bucks don’t win it all come June.

About The Author

Matthew graduated from Brooklyn College in 2022 with a Bachelor's degree in Communications. In the past, he's written for Heavy Sports, Sports Illustrated, and SB Nation. On top of penning scripts for Empire Sports Media, Matthew covers the latest NBA, NFL and Boxing news for Dexerto. His expertise lies in basketball, with a personal passion for track-and-field. You can contact him at matthew.legros@dexerto.com.