Giannis Antetokounmpo apologizes for comments about punching Mario Hezonja, but says he ‘meant it’

Giannis Antetokounmpo regrets some of the things he said about Knicks forward Mario Hezonja.

Hezonja finished a dunk and stepped over the 23-year-old Bucks star during the teams’ matchup last weekend. Antetokounmpo said after the game he was “going to punch” Hezonja below the belt “next time.”

Hezonja really disrespected Giannis like that ? pic.twitter.com/nfSvXIPsh6

Antetokounmpo, who is from Greece, addressed those comments when he met with reporters Monday.

“What I said, I meant it. I’m a person, I don’t take words back,” Antetokounmpo said. “I wasn’t mad, frustrated after the game. It was more of a pride thing. But I know I’ve got to choose better words, word my sentences better.”

“Sometimes it’s tough because I’m not from here, I’m from overseas. So, I come off as more harsh. But I’ve got to do a better job. Because I know I’m a role model for a lot of kids.”

“I’m a role model for a lot of kids…and I felt bad about that. What I said, I meant it…I have to choose better words.”

Giannis on his post-game comments in New York: pic.twitter.com/pksb0OU6Lp

Hezonja said he’s not nervous about facing Antetokounmpo and the Bucks again later this month.

“I mean, that cannot affect me and I cannot worry about what they’re going to say,” Hezonja said Monday (via the New York Post). “I wasn’t even worried about it or who was it. I didn’t see to be honest. It was just great to get the crowd going.”

The Knicks and Bucks will play a home-and-home back-to-back Dec. 25 and 27.  

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