Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has apologized after a series of racist tweets appeared on his social media timeline, with the Milwaukee Bucks star later saying that he was a the victim of a large-scale online hack.
The series of tweets which appeared in a brief 15-minute window took aim at some of basketball’s luminaries, with the likes of Golden State Warriors Steph Curry and the family of Kobe Bryant being targeted by the series of inappropriate and often racist messages.
As fans began to scratch their heads as to the reason for the posts, it soon became apparent the that Antetokounmpo has been hacked – and, according to his girlfriend Mariah Riddlespringer, it wasn’t an isolated incident.
Antetokounmpo’s brother Kostas, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, also posted a message to social media to say that his Twitter, phone, email and bank accounts had also been targeted.
“Giannis’ twitter, phone, email and bank accounts were hacked!” Riddlespringer wrote on social media. “He genuinely apologizes for everything that was tweeted and he will be back as soon as possible! The things that were said by this hacker were extremely inappropriate and disgusting!”
The series of messages claimed that Antetokounmpo has been diagnosed with Covid-19 and included several racist phrases directed at the Asian community, as well as messages aimed at tarnishing the legacy of the recently deceased Kobe Bryant – the man Antetokounmpo describes as his ‘idol’.
The Bucks have announced that an investigation into the incident has been launched, while Antetokounmpo posted a message to his account hours later once he had regained control of it.
“The tweets and posts were extremely inappropriate and I am so disappointed and disgusted that somebody would say the terrible things that were said,” Antetokounmpo wrote.
“I feel terrible that the Bucks, Khris (Middleton), Lebron (James) and the Curry family were included in the malicious and untrue tweets. 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 behavior.”