As Giannis Antetokounmpo accomplished his dreams last night, the world celebrated alongside him. The Greek Freak won his first NBA championship, and looked dominant while doing it. For his performances in the series against the Phoenix Suns, Giannis was awarded the Finals MVP accolade.
This just adds to his lengthy list of accomplishments in the NBA. Giannis has already been named an All-Star, an All-NBA and All-Defensive First Team player, won two NBA MVP titles, and a defensive player of the year. At the age of 26, Giannis has already had the career that most players dream of. But this was never expected of Giannis. In fact, scouts and coaches always thought he had a much lower ceiling than what he is currently doing in the league.
In a new book about Giannis Antetokounmpo written by Mirin Fader entitled 'GIANNIS: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP', a hilarious excerpt about a fairly young Giannis surfaced. In 2015, when Giannis was working with his coaches on improving his game, one of his coaches told him to pay attention to Nicolas Batum and the way he was playing the game.
"You see Batum?..Look at him. Really look at him. He's a really good player. If you work really hard, you might be able to be a Nic Batum type of player."
"Coach, if I become Nic Batum, I'm going back to Greece"
The coach added that Giannis could be a player like Batum if he works hard enough and keeps focused on the game. However, Antetokounmpo seemed a little insulted at the comparison and said that he would go back to Greece if he ended up being a player of Batum's caliber.
To be fair to Nicolas Batum, he was having an excellent season in 2015-16, and earning All-Star considerations. This was the perfect example how driven Giannis was. He didn't want to just be a good or even great player. He wanted to be the absolute best in the league. And after what he has accomplished in the last three seasons alone, no one can make a case for why he shouldn't be considered the best right now.