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

“I’ve got to do a better job. Because I know I’m a role model for a lot of kids,” Antetokounmpo said.

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.”

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.”

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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