I need to take a moment to appreciate Giannis Antetokounmpo!!!!
Now there are many things that can be said about the reigning MVP of the league. Let's start with his sheer dominance that he's presented throughout his career thus far. He was drafted 15th in the 2013 draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. And from then he's been a force to be reckoned with.
He made his debut on October 13, 2013. I was still in college at the time. So chances are I was getting ready to eat at the time. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Giannis averaged 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists in 77 appearances. He ended finishing his rookie season with 61 total blocks, which led the rookies and was 7th most by a Bucks rookie in franchise history. Back when they had it, he participated in the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend and was later named to NBA All-Rookie second team.
In the 2015-16, Giannis upped his scoring average to almost 17 points per game. He began to get closer to getting his first triple double. On December 12, he ended the game with 11 pts, 12 reb, 8 ast. It was good enough to bring the Bucks to a win and snap the Warriors 24 game win streak at the start of the season. February 22, 2016 was the day he recorded his first triple-double with 27-12-10 over the LA Lakers. At just 21 years of age, he became the youngest Bucks to achieve such a feat.
When Giannis agreed to his four-year deal in 2016, that's when I knew he was there for the long haul. I'm sure there were plenty of other teams that were trying to get him but he chose to stay on the team that gave him the start to his career. He matched Michael Redd's record of games with at least 20 points. This was also the year he was named an all star. He became the youngest in franchise history at 22 years and 74 days. He was also the first Greek NBA All-Star. As if he wasn't already having a great season, he led the Bucks in all 5 major statistical categories (pts, rebs, asts, steals, and blocks). He became not only the fifth player to do this but was also the first player in NBA history to finish in the top 20 in each category during the regular season. This earned him being the first Buck to receive the award for Most Improved Player.
Fun Fact: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the franchise with 8 career triple-doubles (as a Buck). Giannis beat that in 2018 when he got his ninth in a loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Fast forward to the 2018 season, Giannis and the bucks picked up right where they left off. With Mike Budenholzer as the head coach, the sky was the limit. They began the season with seven consecutive wins and were eventually at the top of the league with an astounding record of 60-22. This effort saw Giannis being named MVP of the league. being only the second Buck to do so. And the third youngest in 40 seasons behind Derrick Rose and LeBron James.
Now in current times, Giannis has just won his first of hopefully many NBA titles. And the first one in Milwaukee in 50 years. Given the amount of minutes he had to play, it is a wonder he was able to pull it off. After suffering a hyper extended knee issue and being out for 2 games, no one was sure if he would come back and be the same level of player. And since the playoffs are a win or go home type of mentality, it was crucial for him to come back. His 50 point outburst against Phoenix in game 6 is what propelled him and the team to victory. When you have a player that scores almost half the points for the team, it's no surprise that you win. What I did find surprising was his free throw shooting that game. He's never been known to be great at the line. But he only missed, I believe 2 shots from the charity stripe all night. It was a great showing.
I'm sure I could go on and on about the things he has contributed. Not just to the team but to the league as a whole. But I'm going to wrap this up. I hope this year has forced you all to put some respect on this mans name! And remember, GO BUCKS!