After several exciting games, the Milwaukee Bucks overcame a 0-2 deficit and defeated the Phoenix Suns to capture the 2020-21 NBA Championship.
Giannis Antetokounmpo took home the 2021 NBA Finals MVP honors after a historic Game 6 performance, scoring 50 points to go along with 14 rebounds and five blocks. Antetokounmpo shot an efficient 16-of-25 from the field but shined at the free-throw line as he knocked down 17 of his 19 attempts.
The Greek Freak set several records in his first Finals appearance, including joining Shaquille O’Neal in an exclusive statistical group. Like O’Neal, Antetokounmpo dominated the painted area despite the presence of a fellow big man in Deandre Ayton. His blend of strength, speed and skill getting to the basket was too much for Ayton and the Suns and led to some impressive scoring outbursts.
After the Bucks took home their title, O’Neal bestowed his famous “Superman” moniker upon Antetokounmpo, via his Instagram account:
Like most old-school big men, O’Neal has been critical of the centers in today’s game because of their lack of post moves and physicality around the basket, so it is no surprise that he was pleased seeing Antetokounmpo dominate the rim. The Los Angeles Lakers big man was famous for overpowering defenders and while Antetokounmpo is not nearly the specimen O’Neal was, he still flexed his muscles on an undersized Phoenix squad.
Earning O’Neal’s praise and approval as the NBA’s next Superman is quite the honor for the Milwaukee star and he will have plenty of time to live up to that nickname considering he is still only 26 years old.
His resume as a two-time MVP, NBA Champion and Finals MVP makes him Hall of Fame worthy and it will be exciting to see what else he can do because it feels like he is just getting started.
Antetokounmpo appreciate of Kobe Bryant
Like most stars in the league, Antetokounmpo was heavily influenced by the late Kobe Bryant as the Lakers icon routinely challenged players to be the best version of themselves. Bryant issued a challenge to Antetokounmpo to win NBA MVP and after he accomplished that Bryant then told him to go win a championship. Antetokounmpo was appreciative of Bryant’s words and credited him for getting him to work hard.
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