Lakers Legend Shaquille O’Neal Relinquishes ‘Superman’ Nickname To Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo
Kent Smith-NBAE via Getty Images

In this era of NBA basketball just about every superstar use the three-point line to great success. The major exception to that is Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo who is putting up points in the paint at a level not seen since Shaquille O’Neal was dominating for the Los Angeles Lakers.

O’Neal was known by many nicknames during those days, but his most famous was ‘Superman.’ Some have tried to bestow that nickname on others, namely Dwight Howard, but O’Neal has always maintained that he was the only real Superman in the league.

Until now, at least. Recently appearing on the “Stephen A. Smith Show,” O’Neal relinquished the name to the Greek Freak for dominating the paint and not relying on the 3-pointer:

“I’ve never given my name up before, but I’m giving it to him. He’s the new Superman. You heard it here first,” O’Neal told The Stephen A. Smith Show on ESPN Radio on Thursday. “I didn’t hit no 3-pointer either, but he’s dominating and that’s what I like. He’s dominating in the paint. You taking it to the hole. You throwing it down. You ain’t shooting no flip shots. And you know what? I don’t want to encourage big guys to shoot jumpers and 3-pointers. Stay your big ass on the inside and dominate like you been doing. So I denounce myself as Superman and I’m giving to the ‘Greek Freak.’ You heard it here first.”

Antetokounmpo leads the NBA with 17.7 paint points per game, nearly three full points more than second-leading paint scorer Anthony Davis.

But Antetokounmpo isn’t a dominant big man like O’Neal, nor is he a quick guard whose uses his shooting to find lanes to the paint. Defenses know what Antetokounmpo wants to do, and are simply powerless to stop it.

Working as an analyst, O’Neal continues to keep close tabs on the league. And after watching Antetokounmpo lead all players with 38 points in the All-Star Game, reminded that a new ‘Superman’ is in the NBA.

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