The big story in the NBA over the last week has been that Giannis Antetokounmpo is the league leader in All Star votes ahead of all of the other well known, more pronounceable names. We have all heard of him, we’ve seen the nasty dunk highlights that he puts up on a regular basis, we know he has the talent and that some day he will be a mega star in the league; but while we are all waiting for it to happen, he is doing it now.
At just twenty-three years old and already a five year veteran in the league, the Freak is still raw and continuously discovering who he is as a player and what his ridiculously tall, long and athletic body are capable of on the court. At six-foot-eleven, two-hundred-twenty pounds, carrying a seven-foot wingspan and possessing the skill set of a guard, he has the ability to be the best player in the league and possibly of all time.
When LeBron James came into the league he was Michael Jordan with a bigger body, Giannis is even bigger than LeBron. I’m not only talking physically either, his star is already shinning brighter than what was once thought to be the most brilliant being in the galaxy. The interesting fact here is that this isn’t a matter of the best player in the league getting older after a long successful career and a younger more passionate player surpassing him as he slowly starts to fall apart. King James may be thirty-three-years old, he may not be as young as he used to be, but there is no doubt that he is still as good as he ever was, according to some experts, we may be witnessing his best basketball ever. Yet, the Greek Freak is passing him at his peak as if he is standing still.
The experts made it sound like it was a fluke that Antetokounmpo was leading in votes, like it was just the beginning of voting and that LeBron’s truest supporters probably hadn’t got their votes in yet. This was after seeing that the Freak was well on his way to one million votes. Analysts are so afraid of witnessing a new player usurp power that they try to find any way they can to stop it from happening but they shouldn’t be with Giannis. Like Jordan, this kid is likable he’s fun and passionate, a good teammate. I have yet to hear one person ever say anything negative about him. Also, you don’t see him expending energy to create an identity or a brand, this kid is focused on dominating on the court and he leaves the commercial side of the game to the businesspeople. He’s even got a great sense of humor and recently poked fun at himself after learning that in order for an All Star vote to count, both the first and last names have to be spelled correctly.
“I’d have a million votes if everybody could spell my name right.” He said, with the giant smile that is quickly becoming his trademark.
His numbers have improved dramatically in each year so far and this season he is actually averaging a double-double with 28.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, something LeBron James has yet to accomplish. The Freak is also beginning to develop a decent outside shot and is feared as a shot blocker with those long arms and enormous hands.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s name may be difficult to spell and even harder to pronounce but you would be wise to remember it, because it won’t be long before it’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue.