Stating that he had been hacked, Giannis Antetokounmpo said he felt “disgusted” about a string of offensive tweets that were posted on his official Twitter account Thursday.
The Milwaukee Bucks forward, the 2019 NBA MVP and a leading candidate to win that honour again this year, eventually signalled on Thursday that he had regained control of his account. “I’m back and would like to address the social media incident from earlier today! I was hacked and the situation is currently being investigated,” Antetokounmpo wrote. “The tweets and posts were extremely inappropriate and I am so disappointed and disgusted that somebody would say the terrible things that were said!”
In addition to his Twitter account, Antetokounmpo’s phone, email and bank accounts were hacked, according to tweets posted by his girlfriend, Mariah Riddlesprigger, and one of his brothers, Los Angeles Lakers forward Kostas Antetokounmpo. Their identical tweets on the topic declared, “The things that were said by this hacker were extremely inappropriate and disgusting!”
It quickly became apparent that a malicious user had likely taken control of Antetokounmpo’s Twitter account, as tweets poured forth that made offensive remarks about the Lakers’ LeBron James, the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, Milwaukee teammate Khris Middleton and the late Kobe Bryant. Some tweets claimed Antetokounmpo had contracted the novel coronavirus, while others included racial slurs.
“I feel terrible that the Bucks, Khris, LeBron and the Curry family were included in the malicious and untrue tweets,” Antetokounmpo wrote after the tweets were deleted from his account. “I feel especially terrible for the Bryant family, during their time of grief they should not be subjected to this type of negativity and foul behaviour.”
Antetokounmpo’s agent reportedly confirmed his client had been hacked, and the Bucks announced that an investigation was under way.
As with everyone else associated with the NBA, Antetokounmpo has been waiting for a possible resumption of the 2019-20 season since the league suspended operations March 11. At the time of that decision, made after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus, the Bucks had the league’s best record at 53-12 and were in pursuit of their first NBA title since 1971.
Compared to his 2018-19 MVP campaign, Antetokounmpo was averaging more points (29.6 to 27.7) and rebounds (13.7 to 12.5) in fewer minutes (30.9 to 32.8) this season, with nearly as many assists (5.8 to 5.9). His player efficiency rating, 31.6, was not only the best in the NBA but put him on pace for one of the highest marks in league history.
A Greek native of Nigerian heritage, Antetokounmpo is in his seventh NBA season after Milwaukee made him the 15th pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Another brother of his, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, also plays for the Bucks.
Thursday’s episode was far from the first time an NBA player has said he was hacked after his Twitter account made waves, and in some cases, those claims have been met with a certain degree of scepticism. The tweets from Antetokounmpo’s account were so outrageous, and so out of character for one of the NBA’s most unassuming superstars, that they quickly produced a rare consensus from the online basketball community that he was the victim of a security breach.