When Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo knocked over a ladder belonging to the Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center crew, as they were breaking down the court following the 76ers‘ 110-102 victory over the Bucks, the condemnation on social media was swift and furious.
It was, in the opinion of a variety of former players and coaches, as well as current scouts and GMs, also completely misplaced.
A quick synopsis of what transpired: Antetokounmpo, after missing 11 of 15 free throws in the loss, went back out onto the court after the game to work on his shot. His routine, he explained later, is to make 10 in a row before he’s done. He had three to go when Philadelphia forward Montrezl Harrell came onto the court, grabbed Antetokounmpo’s ball after it fell through the net and refused to give it back. After a long exchange in which Antetokounmpo tried to convince Harrell to give back the ball, Harrell walked to the other end with a trainer and a second ball and began shooting mid-range jumpers.
Antetokounmpo finally walked back to the locker room and this time returned with two balls, presumably in case another 76er showed up to steal one.
In the meantime, though, the arena crew had taken the floor and placed a ladder in front of the basket Antetokounmpo had been using. Antetokounmpo walked over and moved the ladder, but a crew member, perhaps taking his cue from Harrell, pulled it back in front of the rim as soon as Antetokounmpo started walking back to the free-throw line.
Antetokounmpo then walked over and pushed the ladder to the side again, this time a little more forcefully. And, considering it was 15 feet high with rubber feet to protect the wooden court, it tipped over.
Someone caught the exchange between Antetokounmpo and the crew, including the ladder crashing to the floor, and posted it on social media. Antetokounmpo was roundly denounced for treating the crew as if he were an arrogant superstar and interfering with their work. ESPN analyst and former player Kendrick Perkins tweeted, “Giannis full of s— for this!!! Real Talk.”
That’s not how those within the league, presently or formerly, saw it when the entire story came out. Their view: Harrell was way out of line.
“I know Montrezl pretty well,” a former player and now Western Conference scout said. “He’s wired that way. … What he did was wrong. You should have respect for your opponent.”
Another Western Conference scout was even harsher.
There is an…