Milwaukee Bucks swingman Giannis Antetokounmpo has been trying for years to be like LeBron James. The Greek Freak finally joined the King at the winner’s table by leading the Bucks to the 2021 championship over the Phoenix Suns in six games. Antetokounmpo is now an MVP, Finals MVP, and champion like LeBron.
After the Bucks defeated the Suns in six games, Antetokounmpo was in a terrific mood. He finally accomplished his dream of winning a championship and did it without leaving Milwaukee and joining a superteam, something he openly talked about during his Finals postgame media session.
Before going to the media podium, Antetokounmpo asked an important question that was caught on camera. He was looking for a cigar so he could channel his inner LeBron and smoke while talking to the press. Despite getting a cigar, though, Antetokounmpo wasn’t able to look as cool as LeBron did in 2020 after leading the Los Angeles Lakers to the championship at Walt Disney World.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: I gotta do what LeBron James did last year
LeBron smoked a full cigar while speaking to the media after leading the Lakers to the 2020 title over the Miami Heat in six games. It was an iconic moment for the four-time MVP, who is the only player in NBA history to win three Finals MVPs with three different teams.
Antetokounmpo was caught on camera saying, “I gotta do what Bron did last year, I need my cigar,” after winning the 2021 title. He did manage to get a hold of one. However, the two-time MVP wasn’t able to smoke it while speaking to the media. Antetokounmpo put the cigar in his mouth and then immediately took it out.
Unlike LeBron, Antetokounmpo apparently isn’t a big cigar guy. After finishing his media session, he told teammate Khris Middleton, “You can have that nasty a– cigar.” LeBron has been smoking cigars for years, so he’s used to them. It will be interesting to see if Giannis develops a taste for them after winning his first championship.
Antetokounmpo may not be a cigar aficionado like LeBron, but he put on a James-like performance in the Finals against the Suns.
Giannis Antetokounmpo put up video game numbers vs. Suns
Antetokounmpo was a man amongst boys against the Suns. He averaged 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.8 blocks while shooting 61.8% from the field. In the Game 6 win, the one-time Defensive Player of the Year scored 50 points and shot 17-of-19 from the free-throw line.
Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan and Antetokounmpo are the only two players in NBA history with multiple MVPs, one Defensive Player of the Year Award and one Finals MVP. Jordan won five MVPs, six Finals MVPs, and one DPOY with the Bulls.
LeBron is a four-time champion, four-time MVP, and four-time Finals MVP. The 17-time All-Star has played in 55 Finals games and has averages of 28.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 7.8 assists. Antetokounmpo has a long way to go before we can put his name next to LeBron on the all-time rankings list, but the five-time All-Star certainly has a bright future and could win more MVPs, championships, and Finals MVPs since he’s only 26.
Can the Bucks repeat in 2022?
The Bucks face a tough road to repeat as champions in 2022. The Brooklyn Nets‘ Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden will have a full year together and will probably be the favorites to win the title if they stay healthy. Many pundits believe the Bucks would have lost to the Nets in the second round of the 2021 playoffs if Harden and Irving didn’t get hurt.
Out West, the Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, and Suns have championship-caliber rosters. The last team to win back-to-back titles was the 2018 Warriors team with Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Milwaukee has the core pieces to repeat in Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday, but the front office has some key decisions to make on free agents such as PJ Tucker, Bobby Portis, and Bryn Forbes.
Antetokounmpo has earned the right to relax a little bit this summer and enjoy his title. However, he can’t get too comfortable since guys like LeBron and Durant will certainly be motivated to take his crown next season.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.