It’s not just that he’s great. It’s that he’s so great, so soon.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is 22 years old and already an NBA All-Star, the first from the Milwaukee Bucks since 2004, the club’s first All-Star starter since 1986. As a kid, he sold trinkets on Grecian streets to help feed his family. Today, he sells dreams of a Bucks renaissance, backed by a four-year, $100 million contract.
His most recent Bucks campaign was nothing short of historic. No NBA athlete had ever finished among the league’s top 20 players in total blocks, steals, points, rebounds and assists for a season. He did so with career-high totals in each category. His respective rankings: fifth, ninth, 14th, 15th and 18th. He also became just the fifth player in NBA history to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals per game for an entire season.
But the highlight machine’s stats are only part of the show. They’re paired with an uncommon maturity that suits his budding leadership role, as well as an uncommon work ethic, born of his impoverished childhood and still begetting late-night gym sessions. Not to mention a vocal loyalty to the city and organization he now calls home.
The best part? Nobody thinks the 6-foot-11 phenom is even close to his ceiling. He might still be growing. His legacy surely is. That Greek Freak nickname has never seemed so fitting.
Handspan: 12″ (the average male’s is 7.4″)
Field Goal percentage: 52.1%
Points per game: 22.9
Rebounds per game: 8.8
Assists per game: 5.4
Blocks per game: 1.9
Steals per game: 1.6
*2016-2017 season statistics
Check out all of this year’s winners!