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Giannis Antetokounmpo: “LeBron is still the best player in the world”

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Giannis Antetokounmpo standing next to LeBron James
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Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo called LeBron James the best player in the world, in an interview on Greek television service COSMOTE TV. The eight-year veteran said, “I like being a hunter. I am not the best player in the world. I am telling you, I am not! KD, LeBron, Luka, Curry, AD might be. I am not. I am still hunting the all-time greats. LeBron is still the best player in the world.”

The Milwaukee Bucks forward also said, “I can’t be fake. I am Giannis. But calling me MVP, calling me champ, calling me the best player in the world, is something that might hold me back. And I don’t want anything holding me back. I want to look forward and be better.”

While this might be the Greek Freak’s attempt at being modest, Antetokounmpo is still a top ten player in the NBA. Among active players, some could even have the 6’11” forward on their top five list. In the 2020-21 NBA season, the five-time All-Star averaged 28.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 61 games played.

For shooting, he had an average field goal percentage of 56.9%. Plus, he shot 30.3% from three-point range and 68.5% from the free throw line. He is not the best free-throw shooter, but he had a defensive rating of 107 last season, ranking ninth in the NBA.

Not to mention, Giannis finished last season with seven triple-doubles, ranking sixth in the league. In the postseason, his greatness showed. Antetokounmpo averaged a playoff series career-high 35.2 points per game in the 2021 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns. Of course, he won his first Finals MVP. According to Basketball-Reference, he has a hall of fame probability of 67.9%.

How about LeBron James? Despite his injury, in 45 games played, James averaged 25 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists last season. He also shot 51.3% from the field and 36.5% from behind the arc. The Greek Freak does not have multiple NBA Finals series performances with at least 30 points, unlike LeBron.

Nevertheless, Giannis Antetokounmpo is only 26-years-old. This is like comparing apples with oranges. He has plenty of years left. Clichés aside, not many active players are as consistently dominant as LeBron. Instead of imitating an ESPN hot take here, let’s just say Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers to win money.

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