Antetokounmpo coming for the crown

Devon Greene, Assistant Sports Editor

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LeBron James has held the NBA crown for about 13 years, but there is a terrifyingly determined  buck with the ferocity of a thousand lions within his very soul in Milwaukee that is looking to snatch away the king’s throne.

Looking back at the 2015 NBA draft, you might want to bash your head against the ground a few billion times when you consider the 10 picks. The worst basketball player that anyone has ever seen, Anthony Bennett, was picked at the number one overall pick. I’m 100 percent positive that I’ve seen better basketball players in my local recreational center.

It doesn’t get much better from there as Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter rounded out the top three. But, if you are a Milwaukee Bucks fan you are praising whatever higher power you believe in as you look back in 2015 when the franchise stole Mr. Fantastic disguised as an NBA player, Giannis Antetokounmpo at the number 15 pick.

Antetokounmpo came into the NBA at 19 years old as a relatively unknown talent. The 6-foot-11 twig of a young adult stunned the entire Bucks’ fan base with the pick that came out of left field. Antetokounmpo had an underwhelming debut playing just under

five minutes and putting up a whopping one-point on a free throw. His first season was nothing to write home about, but the work ethic that Antetokounmpo showed propelled him into NBA stardom.

My favorite Antetokounmpo story comes from when he was a rookie. Like a lot of NBA talents, Antetokounmpo didn’t come from a particularly wealthy family, so when he got his first game check, Antetokounmpo took a cab straight to Western Union and sent all of his money back home. When he finished his transaction, he realized that he didn’t have any money left for a cab fare. He decided to run miles back to the arena before playing a full basketball game.

After he ran about a mile, a family was driving along the highway and saw the Slenderman sprinting toward the arena and offered him a ride. I like to imagine the couple had a Mini Cooper or something so Antetokounmpo was crammed inside like a full-grown bear playing hide and seek in a cardboard box.

Antetokounmpo has steadily improved every season that he’s been in the league. However, everyone knows you aren’t considered a star unless you get a nickname. I know Antetokounmpo’s name is ridiculously easy to pronounce and you haven’t had any problems with it so far but the commentators in Milwaukee often had issues so they gave him the nickname, The Alphabet. Another one of my favorite things is watching NBA games and hearing Chris Webber or Reggie Miller, who both make my ears bleed profusely every time I turn on an NBA game that they are commentating, pronounce “Antetokounmpo” a different way every time they say it. Antetokounmpo has increased his scoring output each season, he’s raised his point total about 6 points every season and has become a mega-star in Milwaukee, big enough to get another nickname better than The Alphabet: the Greek Freak.

Freakish is a perfect adjective to describe Antetokounmpo. Sometimes he does things on the basketball court that make me want to turn my television off, go to a classroom and learn how what he just did is possible. To this day, you cannot tell me that Antetokounmpo’s legs and arms are not giraffe necks disguised as human limbs. He is also unfairly athletic for his height. Antetokounmpo runs like a deer with the size of Andre the Giant behind him, which I didn’t think was humanly possible. All my life I thought the human race had put a rule in place where if you were over 6-foot-10-inches, you had to run like you had a regular sized person attached to your back the whole time in order to slow you down to make things fair for the rest of us.

In the wildest NBA off-season I have ever witnessed, retired Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant issued challenges to NBA players and Antetokounmpo looks like he has taken his to heart. Antetokounmpo tweeted to Bryant in August, “Still waiting for my challenge… @kobebryant”

Bryant replied with three simple letters: “MVP.”

Since then, all hell has broken loose for opposing NBA teams that Antetokounmpo has gotten his obscenely large hands on this season. He is averaging 34 points, 10 rebounds and five assists through six games this season and has put up more points than any Milwaukee Buck in history, which is ludicrous considering it is the franchise where Lew Alcindor, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, started off his career.

The Greek Freak opened up his season bullying an Australian hipster lumberjack that plays for the Boston Celtics, Aron Baynes, on his home court. Antetokounmpo met the 6-foot-10 center in the paint after snatching an offensive rebound and dunked on Baynes so hard, his man bun fell off his head and the game was delayed so they could have a funeral for the beloved hair accessory.

Yet this was not even the worst thing Antetokounmpo did to the poor Australian in the game. In the fourth quarter, down 86-80, the Bucks designed a play that I will argue until the end of time, earns the entire coaching staff and roster accessory to murder charges. Reigning rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon dribbled to the arch of the three-point line where Antetokounmpo met his defender, Terry Rozier, with a pick and roll. Antetokounmpo then turned to the basket and Brogdon threw up a pass outside of our Milky Way galaxy and Antetokounmpo turned into a pterodactyl and flew into the sky, reached out his arms like Michael Jordan when he was in Space Jam, grabbed the ball, and spiked the alley-oop so hard that Baynes turned into water vapor and ash as the crowd agreed collectively to call the Boston Police Department, report the crime and never speak of the incident again.

The thing about the Greek Freak that should have the NBA running for their lives is the fact that Antetokounmpo is doing all of this with a jump shot that is as dependable as Donald Trump’s moral compass. If he ever finds a jump shot that he can hit somewhat reliably, he will be the most un-guardable player I’ve ever seen. He’d turn into a stronger Kevin Durant.

Also, he is 22 years old. Every time I read that fact, I imagine where I’ll be at 22. If all goes to plan, I’ll be graduating college and barely looking to start my career but Antetokounmpo is already establishing himself as a monstrous force that will be stomping on the NBA with his hooves for the next decade.

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