The Greek Freak may not be the face of the NBA -- nor will any other player while LeBron James is still active, in my opinion -- but he has achieved something that LeBron never has.
In taking home the 2020 MVP award along with the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year award, Giannis Antetokounmpo has joined Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players in NBA history to win both honors in the same season.
Here's what their stat lines looked like in each of those incredible campaigns, with bolded figures representing a league-leading statistic:
Michael Jordan (1987-88): 35.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 5.9 apg, 3.2 spg, 1.6 bpg, .535 FG%
Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-1994): 27.3 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.6 spg, 3.7 bpg, .528 FG%
Giannis Antetokounmpo (2019-20): 29.5 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 5.6 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg, .553 FG%
Antetokounmpo took home the MVP award over co-finalists LeBron James and James Harden, and brought in the DPOY award over Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert.
As far as back-to-back MVP winners go, the company isn't quite as exclusive as just two other NBA greats. With that said, it's a pretty good group of players:
- Steph Curry (2015-16, 2016-17)
- LeBron James (2011-12, 2012-13)
- LeBron James (2008-09, 2009-10)
- Steve Nash (2004-05, 2005-06)
- Tim Duncan (2001-02, 2002-03)
- Michael Jordan (1990-91, 1991-92)
- Magic Johnson (1988-89, 1989-90)
- Larry Bird (1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86)
- Moses Malone (1981-82, 1982-83)
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1975-76, 1976-77)
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1970-71, 1971-72)
- Wilt Chamberlain (1965-66, 1966-67, 1967-68)
- Bill Russell (1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63)
In other words, the list is composed of pretty much every guy in the G.O.A.T. discussion, save for Kobe Bryant, and including others like Curry, Nash and Duncan. Either way, it certainly means that we should start to regard Giannis as something more than just an amazing player in the current era of the NBA.
Another award he's taken home, albeit unofficially? The hardest last name to spell, perhaps in all of sports.
At this rate, it's tough to argue against the fact that Antetokounmpo could go down as one of the greatest in history. Will that be with the Milwaukee Bucks or elsewhere? That's the tougher question to answer.