Is Giannis Antetokounmpo the Rightful Successor to LeBron James?
“I’m not on that level,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said after a 116-97 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. “LeBron James is one of the best players in the league, and one of the best players to ever play the game. It’s great going against him, but I don’t think about that.”
While a humble and youthful Giannis doesn’t want to admit it, ‘The Greek Freak’ is unlike anything the NBA has ever seen. James is currently embarking on his 15th NBA season, Antetokounmpo is only 22-years old – a scary 22-year old who will dominate the league for many years to come.
This begs the question, is Giannis Antetokounmpo the eventual heir to the throne currently occupied by ‘The King’ himself? Will Giannis one day take over the reigns as establish himself as one of the games greatest stars.
“The Greek Freak, I think, is a force. I’ve never seen anything like him,” Kevin Durant said of Giannis just a few days ago. “His ceiling is probably — he could end up being the best player to ever play if he really wanted to. That’s pretty scary to think about.”
Durant added: “He’s by far my most favorite player to watch.”
Great in his own right, Durant has had the misfortune of playing out his prime alongside James. A player who may very well go down as the greatest, most versatile scorer the game has ever seen, Durant has always remained in the shadow of James who has put his name in the discussion from greatest player ever.
But Antetokounmpo is a different breed. He is Kevin Durant but longer, more athletic. So much more intriguing. With Giannis there remains a sense of the unknown. The potential is evident, the ceiling is incredibly high, but how high can it go for such a talent.
Can Giannis really become the best the game has ever seen?
“I think my mentality,” Antetokounmpo told ESPN before the game. “The way I approach the game. The way I approach just a simple practice. That’s my mentality.
“I take this more serious. I’m not taking this for granted no more. I think my rookie I was just having fun. I was 18 and I was living the American dream. Now, I think it’s like, it’s time to like work hard and achieve goals and do whatever it takes for your team to win. So I think my mentality has changed since my rookie year.”
It takes Giannis two dribbles to get from one side of the court to the other. At a near seven feet, he can play all five positions. He has court vision, he can score at will. His freakish length makes him a nightmare on defense. He gets into passing lanes, he shuts down his opposition. The one thing missing is his outside shot and if that only comes, can anyone really say that Giannis is not the greatest talent ever seen in basketball?
For many years, the future of the NBA was uncertain. Yes, right now LeBron and Durant are holding the fort down, but what will the future of the NBA hold? Who will be the one to lead the league into the next generation.
For many years it was believed to be Anthony Davis, but that was never truly case.
The answer is Giannis Antetokounmpo and he is no longer in the shadow of some of the game’s best. He is box office and he is the next man to take the throne. If there was any doubt before, there is no doubt now – the game will remain in good hands for years to come!
It is still not time for the 22-year old international sensation, but the time is very rapidly approaching.