The Coronation of Giannis Antetokounmpo

What Giannis Antetokounmpo did in game 6 was the definition of a player carrying his team to an NBA Championship. Everybody else was fighting for a basket, not Giannis. Some moments made me question whether Giannis was a human or not. Just a couple of weeks ago he suffered what looked to be a season-ending injury, that didn’t stop him. He ran up and down the court for 42 minutes with speed and intensity I’ve never seen before. Like he was trying to prove to the world he is the man, and that he is the new king.
Giannis has done things that only a few players have done in the Finals, with a hyperextended knee and an injured back. If that doesn’t make you the new alpha dog of the league, I don’t know what does. That’s why we’re here today, to crown a new king. This is the coronation of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
A scrawny kid from a foreign land emerged in 2013 and promised he’d take Milwaukee to the promise land. 8 years later he fulfilled that promise. We watched Giannis grow from a project to a superstar, something like that hasn’t happened ever before. Giannis could’ve been content with being a great dunker on a decent team, but he wasn’t. He developed over time right in front of our eyes: his defense is suffocating, his offense is something we’ve never seen before, and his selflessness is inspiring.
This season wasn’t supposed to be the year for Giannis and the Bucks. This was supposed to be the year of the superteam Nets, but karma came back to hurt the Nets and the Bucks scrapped to win the series. Giannis was forced to sit out in games 5 and 6 because of the hyperextended knee I mentioned earlier, but the Bucks didn’t panic. They did quite the opposite, Middleton and Holiday carried them to their first Conference Finals win since 1974.
They were supposed to lose to the future hall of famer Chris Paul and his friends Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. After going down 2-0 in the series, Giannis put the team on his back and won 4 straight games. He is no longer a superstar, he is a super-duper-star. The only other super-duper-star in this league is LeBron James. I think that’s good company.
Giannis did have help from Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. Every great player needs a sidekick and Khris Middleton fills that role perfectly. Middleton takes the final shot, makes clutch baskets, and is always good for a heat check three. Going into this series Giannis had a reputation for choking when he’s forced to make his team come back from a deficit late in the fourth quarter and had to be bailed out by Khris Middleton. He doesn’t have that reputation anymore. Now when his team is trailing late in the fourth quarter he finds ways to make shots and sets up Middleton off the pick and roll. Holiday is there to make the occasional shot, but he’s mainly on the court for his defense. Which makes Milwaukee a scary team to face because they have two elite defenders on the court, Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
I’ll repeat myself so I can highlight the fact that Giannis is playing on a knee that should’ve been operated on three weeks ago. Don’t ever question his passion for the game. Watching Giannis get chase down block after chase down block, blew me away. He should be in physical therapy right now, and a lesser player would’ve accepted what the doctors said and sat out for the rest of the playoffs. Not Giannis. The King was determined to give the city of Milwaukee a championship, and he delivered. On one leg!
Devin Booker is not the next Kobe Bryant, that’s evident, if anything Giannis Antetokounmpo is the next Kobe Bryant. Not that I like to compare old players to new players, I just wanted to throw the accurate comparison out there.
It’s hard to put into words what Giannis did in these Finals that made him go from a superstar to a super-duper-star, but he did it. He scored 40 points and grabbed at least 10 rebounds three times in the Finals, the only other player to do that was Shaq in 2000. That’s good company to be in. When he played point guard he made passes that were Magic-esque, his spin move is unguardable, and his long reach is great for dunking and blocking. If an NBA coach were to build a player in a lab, the player would be modeled after Giannis. A great defender and a great offensive player, to put it simply.
There were times in the game Giannis looked exhausted, multiple times he slumped and put his hands on his knees like he was about to pass out. Mike Budenholzer would smartly call timeout, and Giannis would make a great play on offense and/or defense to signal to his coach and to the fans that he is alright. Once again, I’ve never seen a player like Giannis before, and I haven’t seen a “put a team on your back” performance like this since Jordan in ‘98. That’s some good company to be in.
It’s official Giannis Antetokounmpo is the new alpha dog of this league and the new King. After Giannis carried a team to a championship you can’t do anything but give him your respect. He even made 17-19 from the line, only Giannis could go from a terrible free throw shooter to a great free throw shooter in the most important game of his life. Until LeBron gives me a reason next season (hey that rhymes) to give him his crown back and position of alpha dog, it’s staying with Giannis. A great performance from one of the greats, the question is, where does Giannis go from here?

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