Giannis Antetokounmpo was the youngest player to be included in the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team that celebrated the 75 greatest players to have played in the league. Giannis has won multiple MVPs and led his Milwaukee Bucks to the championship last season while winning Finals MVP and performing at a historic level while doing so. His place in the list is unquestioned and the Greek Freak is still well within his prime.
He spoke about being included in the list, expressing how humbled he was by the honor. He also addressed being able to sit alongside the game's greatest legends but had a unique perspective on the situation. As a European player, Giannis talked about how few players from outside the United States were a part of the list and his awe at being seated alongside Dirk Nowitzki, who in many ways laid the foundation for today's European talent to be able to join the league.
"There were only 2 Europeans in this, right? That's insane. Ok, sitting next to Michael Jordan, that's great, LeBron and Carmelo, just talking real," Giannis said in the press conference. "But having the opportunity to sit next to Dirk that kind of opened the path for us, that's an even more incredible feeling for me."
"I watched him play when I was a kid when he was winning the championship for the Dallas Mavericks. He was one of us," Giannis continued. "Hopefully, Luka, Jokic, and more European players can follow. Hopefully, more African players can follow Hakeem's [Olajuwon's] lead."
"In 25 years, we're gonna do it again, there are gonna be more non-American people in the group."
There is some elite European and African talent in the league at this time, considering that Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid have been among the frontrunners for the MVP in the last 2 seasons. Luka Doncic is arguably the biggest young talent in the league and looks set to win the MVP award sooner rather than later himself. Giannis' wish to see more international talent among the NBA's elite in 25 years looks like it will likely come true.