64 Points, 0 Etiquette: The Night the Pacers Forgot Sportsmanship

Giannis Antetokounmpo asked for the souvenir ball with which he set a personal and Milwaukee Bucks record of 64 points, which is part of the NBA tradition, but not everything went according to his plans

by Sededin Dedovic
64 Points, 0 Etiquette: The Night the Pacers Forgot Sportsmanship
© Stacy Revere / Getty Images

On a night that should have been a celebration for Giannis Antetokounmpo, he set a personal and Milwaukee Bucks record with 64 points, but was overshadowed by a small incident after the game. The traditional souvenir ball, a symbol of individual brilliance, has become the subject of controversy, potentially sparking a new rivalry with the Indiana Pacers after the NBA Cup game.

Antetokounmpo, after dominating the court, expected the usual recognition – a game ball to commemorate his historic feat. However, the Pacers took him to their locker room. Coach Rick Carlyle defended the move, claiming it was always their practice.

This seemingly innocuous act sparked a fiery exchange. This annoyed Antentokunmpo so he has to react. The alleged motive? Rookie Oskar Shibwe, who scored his first NBA points in the same game, reportedly wished for the ball as a memento of his own milestone.

This claim, although understandable, fueled Baks' frustration. Ultimately, Antetokounmpo's accomplishment was visibly greater, and the tradition of awarding the game ball to player of the night seemed blatantly ignored. The fact that a young player got the ball instead of a proven superstar and perhaps the best player in the NBA adds weight.

Harsh words were exchaned

The dispute quickly escalated, with heated words and almost physical confrontations. The incident, televised for all to see, left a bitter taste in the mouth. Unwritten rules, while often adding flavor to competition, can also cause unforeseen conflicts.

The NBA, once known for intense rivalries, has become friendlier in recent years. The camaraderie between the players and the emphasis on mutual respect certainly tempered the passion of the game. But the Antetokounmpo-Pacers incident reminded us of the old days, when fierce competition and passionate rivalries fueled the league's fire.

It remains to be seen if this incident will become the spark for a new era of East Coast basketball battles. It is a symbol of the competitive spirit that still burns in the NBA, and which we all admit or not wish for.
We all remember with nostalgia the rivalries in the NBA from the nineties and early 2000s.

Pacers Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks