Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo recently disclosed to the Eric Nehm of The Athletic that he believes the Heat were built to perform in the bizarre bubble and wouldn’t have come out on top had it been a normal environment.
“Year 7,” Antetokounmpo said as he reflected on his career with Nehm. “Ended with Miami. I don’t make excuses as an athlete, but it wasn’t a satisfying year for me because I felt like if it was a normal situation, it wouldn’t end up like that. But at the end of the day, I felt like Miami was built to be an NBA bubble team, you know?”
Antetokounmpo, 27, isn’t the first person to claim the Heat’s success in 2020 was due to the environment of the bubble.
In fact, NBA legend Charles Barkley destroyed the Heat for being able to “only play in the bubble.” Furthermore, Barkley chided the Heat and Lakers for being “bubble gangsters” after both teams were eliminated in the first round of the 2021 playoffs.
The Heat were swept by Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in the opening round of the postseason last year. The Bucks went on to beat the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks before knocking off the Phoenix Suns in six games in the 2021 NBA Finals.
The league saw Antetokounmpo’s dominance on full display. Over the course of the 2021 postseason, Antetokounmpo put up a monster 30.2 points, 12.8 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
As for the Heat, they were “broken” by the Bucks’ quick work of them in last year’s playoffs. However, the team is motivated and revamped this season. It currently holds an impressive 28-16 record and is the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.