NBA nicknames are pretty sacred within the community.
For Lakers legend Shaquille O'Neal, his infamous "Superman" nickname is one of the most widely recognized in the game and it became a part of his brand during his time in the league.
When Dwight Howard adopted it to his identity in the 2010s, nobody was sure what to think, and even O'Neal himself was hesitant to go along with it.
When it comes to Giannis Antetokounmpo, however, the "Big Diesel" seems more than willing to let him have it.
In fact, in a recent Instagram post, O'Neal bestowed the name upon Giannis himself.
“[Giannis] is a bad boy. Call him Superman. Just call me Shaq.”
The post itself featured a graphic comparing the stats between Giannis and Shaq at 26-years-old. Here, we can see that Aantetokounmpo surpasses the former Lakers big man in every single category except blocks per game, All-Star appearances, and points per game.
This season, after winning Finals MVP during his first title run, Giannis moved into a higher category of greatness, one that clearly has Shaq impressed.
In fact, even before Giannis won the title, Shaq had a lot of good things to say about him, going so far as to say he was basically the reincarnated version of himself.
While Shaquille O'Neal isn't walking through that door, perhaps we're focused on the wrong big man.
"I would actually love to play in this NBA," O'Neal said. "I would bring a little bit more physicality. I would bring my length, I would bring my athletic-ness. So, before you say, 'Shaq can't play in this era today,' I'm already playing.
"My name is Giannis Antetokounmpo."
In many ways, Giannis is Shaq. The way he dominates the paint and uses his body/strength to his advantage is something we haven't seen since O'Neal himself was still around and doing his thing.
And while many have counted him out in the past, Antetokounmpo has already put himself on the map as one of the best.
So, considering where Giannis is at now, it's only fitting that he take up the mantle as "Superman." All he needs to do now is pull out the cape.