Giannis Antetokounmpo is having his moment

Daniel Lubofsky
4 min readJul 12, 2021

Playoff shortcomings have left Giannis to answer for quite a bit in the last several years.

Toronto and Miami walled off his head-down b-lines for the bucket, and the two-time MVP didn’t have much of an answer. His sheer greatness still produced some fairly gaudy numbers, but not to his usual MVP standard and with much less efficiency.

And with that, the floodgates opened to a swarm of questions many couldn’t help bust ask given the evidence that warranted them.

Could someone without much range outside the restricted area lead a legitimate contender? Would his battering ram style of play work at the highest level? Did he NEED a jumpshot to unlock his championship potential? Does Milwaukee need to find a Kobe to Antetokounmpo’s Shaq?

Perhaps these questions were an oversimplification of the bigger issues that plagued Milwaukee in consecutive postseasons, from team building to questionable coaching. Such is the burden of superstardom, where logic and fair treatment aren’t always on the table.

But there was something missing from Antetokounmpo that gave weight to those concerns.

Looking back on all the all-time greats in NBA history, every single one of them has a moment of validation.

I’m not talking about the obvious validation that comes from winning a championship. Before that step, the ones you expect to lead a team to a title first must prove that they’re unquestionably able to shoulder such responsibilities — sometimes those moments are one in the same. Others are noticeable beforehand. They have to prove they can be “that guy.” But what seems like a no-brainer for the legends of the game in hindsight isn’t always as simple in the moment.

There was a time when people questioned whether Michael Jordan’s ball-dominant style of play could power the Chicago Bulls to the promised land. LeBron James’ mental fortitude — especially in fourth quarters — was constantly put under a microscope.

It was never an issue of talent. Both had racked up All-Star appearances and MVP trophies in the time before their moment. It wasn’t even necessarily about performing at a high level in the playoffs. MJ broke the league’s single-game postseason scoring record. LeBron…

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Daniel Lubofsky

I write about the NBA, MCU, other movies/shows and any other topic I feel like.