Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a recurrent topic in the NBA community in recent times. The Milwaukee Bucks superstar didn’t have the best series against the Miami Heat and his team was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs after finishing the regular season as the #1 seed. A lot of questions have been raised around Giannis, with some people even saying he can’t be the leader of a team.
A couple of days ago, former NBA player Richard Jefferson made a hot take about Giannis and his status in the league. Jefferson claimed Giannis might be a (Scottie) Pippen, not a (Michael) Jordan, trying to explain Antetokounmpo would work better as a sidekick than a hero. Scottie Pippen himself reacted to that tweet, defending Giannis and asking Jefferson who he was a player.
I’m not Giannis—I don’t have back-to-back league MVPs (he will in a matter of days)—and he’s not me. The question is… who were you as a player? https://t.co/Ce6tGU98s3
— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) September 3, 2020
That was not the end of it as Jay Williams also disagreed with RJ, explaining that LeBron was once D-Wade’s sidekick when he landed in Miami.
So LeBron was a Pippen with D Wade once. Nothing wrong with that until you get over the hump. https://t.co/exAjQ3uOW4
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) September 3, 2020
Further, Max Kellerman had the longest response to these comments, comparing Giannis to another dominant player that couldn’t reach success until he teamed up with another player as dominant as him. The NBA has seen plenty of good duos but when you talk about the best of the best, other than Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, you have to mention Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. For the ESPN analyst, Giannis is a Shaq looking for his Kobe.
“He’s not Pippen looking for his Jordan, Antetokounmpo is Shaq looking for his Kobe.” Max Kellerman further explained, “Because even Shaq got zip without either a prime Kobe Bryant or a prime Dwayne Wade. Shaq, one of the greatest setters who ever lived needed one of the greatest shooting guards who ever lived in order to win a single championship. When he got it, he won four altogether.”
“He’s not Pippen looking for his Jordan, Antetokounmpo is Shaq looking for his Kobe.”
— First Take (@FirstTake) September 9, 2020
If you give it a thought, Kellerman has a point. Shaq needed Kobe and Dwyane Wade to be successful. Even Penny Hardaway helped him reach the Finals at the beginning of his career. Regardless of how dominant he was, O’Neal needed a partner in crime to become a 4x NBA champion. You can say Giannis has Khris Middleton, but that is not the same as having players like Kobe, Wade and even Penny.
Even though the Greek Freak has shown his commitment to the Bucks, nothing is certain in this story. Several teams are trying to lure Giannis away from Milwaukee and if things don’t change for him, we can see him leaving the Bucks to go try his luck elsewhere.