Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo insists his headbutt on Washington Wizards center Moritz Wagner during Tuesday's contest was not the result of any personal grievances against the German big man.
"I don't think I was frustrated with Wagner," Antetokounmpo said postgame. "I think it was just the whole buildup of dirty plays in my mind. You know, guys tripping me and guys falling in front of my feet, holding me, hitting me, and all that. But I have nothing against Wagner, it wasn't just him.
"It was just like - you know, in my mind all these games I've played, guys hitting me, so I lost it for a second. And as I said, if I could go back, I would have changed it and try to stay in the game. But I got to live with it. Bad mistake by me. Learn from it."
Antetokounmpo delivered the blow during a stoppage in play with 8:50 remaining in the second quarter. The incident resulted in a flagrant-2 foul for the 25-year-old, earning him a rare ejection.
The ejection marked just the third time Antetokounmpo's been tossed from a regular-season game, with the last one coming during the 2017-18 campaign. The league has yet to rule on a potential suspension for Tuesday's incident.
"We're all human. We all make mistakes," Antetokounmpo said. "I think I've done a great job all year, in my career, keeping my composure and focusing on the game, but in the end, as I say, we're human and make mistakes.
"But at the end of the day, learn from it, keep playing good basketball, and keep moving forward."
Antetokounmpo finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, and an assist in 10 minutes of action. Milwaukee held on to defeat the Wizards 126-113 despite playing without the reigning MVP for over half the contest.
Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer defended Antetokounmpo postgame.
"This is nothing. Giannis has been dealing with this for a long time," Budenholzer told ESPN's Eric Woodyard. "He's a MVP. People are gonna try him. He normally is phenomenal, and today was a slipup.
"I think it's probably, in some ways, it could be one of the best things that happened today, and it's a learning moment. We'll all remember how important it is that we've got to keep our cool."