Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo put together an incredible 64-point performance in the team’s 140-126 win against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
However, what he wanted more than the team’s 17th win of the season was the game ball.
Antetokounmpo exchanged heated words with Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton and other members of the opposing team’s staff and raced toward Indiana’s locker room as the teams squared off in the hallway over the dispute for the basketball.
The Bucks wanted the game ball to remember Antetokounmpo’s game. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said the Pacers took the ball to celebrate Oscar Tshiebwe’s first point. After the confrontation, there was still confusion over who had which game ball.
“I have no idea. I’m not going to lie,” Antetokounmpo said. “I have no idea. I don’t know. I really don’t know. I have a ball, but I don’t know if it’s the game ball.
“It doesn’t feel like the game ball to me. It feels like a brand new ball. I can tell. I played, what, 35 minutes today. I know how the game ball felt. The ball that I have, which I’ll take, and I’ll give it to my mom for sure, but I don’t know if it’s actually the game ball.”
Carlisle said the franchise was not focused on Antetokounmpo setting a franchise record.
“What happened after the game was unfortunate,” Carlisle said. “There was a misunderstanding about the game ball. … We were not thinking about Giannis’ franchise record, so we grabbed the ball.
“A couple of minutes later, several of their players ended up in our hallway, and there was a big, I don’t know what to call it — a fracas, melee, whatever. I don’t think any punches were landed, but my general manager got elbowed in the ribs by one of their players. He certainly had a bruised rib and who knows if it’s anything more than that. Unfortunate situation.
“We don’t need the official game ball. There’s two game balls there. We could have taken the other one, but it didn’t need to escalate to that. Really unfortunate.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.