NBA players arguably are among the most petty and overdramatic athletes in American sports, and that was on full display after the Pacers-Bucks game.

Milwaukee beat Indiana, 140-126, at Fiserv Forum on Wednesday night behind Giannis Antetokounmpo’s franchise-record 64 points. The Bucks superstar attempted to grab the game ball after the final buzzer to memorialize his accolade, but that ended up being a more difficult task than anticipated.

The Pacers took a game ball to give to rookie Oscar Tshiebwe, who scored his first points Thursday night; the 24-year-old actually scored in the NBA In-Season Tournament finals, but those points aren’t official for the regular season.

Antetokounmpo was seen running to the opposing locker room, and fan footage caught a scuffle between the two-time MVP and the Pacers. Tyrese Haliburton was left confused, and while Antetokounmpo did retrieve a game ball, he wasn’t completely satisfied.

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“I have no idea. I’m not going to lie,” Antetokounmpo told reporters on if he got the game ball, per ESPN. “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.”

NBA personality Rob Perez broke down the entire situation on X, where he also laid out the context behind the situation.

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As Antetokounmpo noted, he traditionally gives the game ball to his mother as a special memento, something he also did after his father died in 2017. But the Pacers also have a tradition of giving the game ball to rookies when they score their first points.

What’s interesting is that Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle noted there are two game balls and didn’t care much for the official one used in the matchup. Video also showed the Bucks’ assistant head of security Danny Carter securing the game ball after the final buzzer, understanding it was something Antetokounmpo wanted. There was no clear evidence of what Carter did with the ball, but Antetokounmpo saw the Pacers walk away with a basketball and seemed to assume that was the one Carter must have had.

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It was a bizarre situation and something that might spark a rivalry after the Pacers eliminated the Bucks in the In-Season Tournament semifinals, so the win Thursday was a taste of revenge for Milwaukee; the sides play a home-and-home series at the beginning of January.

It’s also a situation that seems silly for fans, but signed basketballs sell for an inane price tag, and Major League Baseball fans know how crazy people can get for a baseball even though they are relatively affordable at a sports store.

It was a strange situation but also seemed like another day in the NBA since the game ball controversy came on the same week Draymond Green hit Jusuf Nurkic with a back fist that resulted in the Golden State Warriors star’s indefinite suspension.

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After Wednesday, NBA teams, including the Boston Celtics, learned to stay clear of Antetokounmpo when he wants the game ball.

Featured image via Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports Images