Stop Trying to Diminish Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Greatnessby Ben Fadden July 21, 2021 0 comments
The Milwaukee Bucks have finally won their first NBA championship since they took a chance on Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. That skinny basketball player at the time had to go through failure multiple times before getting to the top of the mountain. He also had to do it while people tried to drag him down.
There were those who wanted to focus on what Antetokounmpo couldn’t do than what he could do. He can’t shoot free throws, they said. He made all but two of them in the championship-clinching Game 6 on Tuesday. He can’t win when it matters most. Except he did–after being down two games to none. He can’t win a ring unless he teams up with another superstar they said. But he did–with Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton.
Let’s Focus On What Giannis Can Do
To the Giannis haters, do you know what he can do? He can put an entire city on his shoulders despite entering the playoffs as the third seed. He and the Bucks can sweep the Miami Heat in the first round–the team that eliminated them the year before. He can walk into Brooklyn and knock off Kevin Durant and the Nets in Game 7. And the most important of all? He can come back from a 2-0 Finals deficit and a hyperextended knee injury to win four consecutive games and put Chris Paul‘s championship hopes to bed.
A Historic NBA Finals Stretch
Antetokounmpo didn’t just ride the coattails of Middleton and Holiday. He came up with one of the best blocks in NBA history on a Deandre Ayton attempted dunk to keep the Suns from tying Game 4–a game Milwaukee held on to win. The Greek Freak made a play perhaps only the Greek Freak could make in Game 5 on Holiday’s lob pass to close out their third win of the series. Then he drops 50 points and 14 rebounds (his third 40 point and 10 rebound game of the Finals) and essentially doesn’t miss a free throw after countless people doubted his free throw ability late in games.
Just pause and think about that paragraph for a minute. When the city of Milwaukee needed him to step up most, he did.
Perhaps one of the reasons why some didn’t think Milwaukee was the best place for Antetokounmpo to win was because it wasn’t in a big market–the same market that saw Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leave for Los Angeles. Except Antetokounmpo signed a $228 million contract extension prior to this season despite getting bounced in the second round the year before. Why? Because he wanted to win a ring for the organization that believed in him from the start.
Mission accomplished. Let’s appreciate the unique skillset Giannis has instead of trying to search for the things he can’t do–although it’ll be hard to find anything now.
Follow Ben Fadden on Twitter @ben_fadden
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images