Lakers fined $50k after Johnson praises Antetokounmpo
LOS ANGELES, United States — The Los Angeles Lakers have been fined $50,000 after team president Earvin “Magic” Johnson showered praise on Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA said Tuesday.
The league said in a statement Johnson had breached the NBA’s anti-tampering rule in remarks about Antetokounmpo made in an interview with ESPN last week.
In the interview, Johnson spoke glowingly about Antetokounmpo, saying he saw parallels between the 23-year-old and his own Hall of Fame career.
“In his understanding of the game, his basketball IQ, his creativity of shots for his teammates. That’s where we [have the] same thing,” Johnson was quoted as saying.
“I’m just happy he’s starting in the All-Star game because he deserves that. And he’s going to be like an MVP, a champion, this dude he’s going to put Milwaukee on the map. And I think he’s going to bring them a championship one day.
“He’s special. A man that can handle the basketball like he can and be a great — he’s probably the greatest athlete we have in the league today. And then his understanding, his basketball IQ is off the chart.”
Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 28 points per game this season, was delighted by Johnson’s lavish praise.
“A compliment like that coming from Magic, that’s huge,” he said.
“But for me, I just got to stay focused, keep working on my game and try to get better.” /cbb