Giannis Antetokounmpo had a historic year with the Milwaukee Bucks last season. At the age of 25, Antetokounmpo became just the third-ever player to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon are the only other players in that elite group.
Antetokounmpo also became the 12th player in NBA history to win an MVP Award in back-to-back seasons. Before him, the last player to accomplish that tremendous feat was Stephen Curry, who won the MVP Award in 2015 and 2016.
And yet, Antetokounmpo still doesn’t think he’s deserving of the “greatest player in the world” title. In a recent interview with Cosmote TV, he said that LeBron James, who finished just behind him in MVP voting, is still better than him:
“He is the best player in the world right now. It doesn’t matter who is the MVP, he is the best. I say so, he is the best in the world. The day that I would be the best player in the world, I will step forward and say it ... okay, maybe I will not say it, but you will understand it. At this moment, the best is LeBron James.”
We can safely assume that Antetokounmpo’s comments derive from the fact that James led the Lakers to a championship last season, and against a team Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks were unable to beat in the second round. He’s giving credit where it’s due.
But James also made a strong case for himself in his 17th season in the NBA. In the postseason, James averaged 27.6 points. 10.8 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. The only other player that averaged at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal per game in the playoffs was Antetokounmpo.
Suffice to say, it’s going to be fun to see Antetokounmpo and the other superstars of the NBA make another run at the crown next season. For now, though, even the reigning league MVP can say that James is still the best in the business.