Giannis Antetokounmpo is entering the LeBron James point of his career where MVP voters have started to take his performances for granted and are looking elsewhere to finalize their MVPs. This year's race was widely expected to come down to Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic, but Giannis has been forcing his name into that conversation.
Many purists are picking Giannis for the award at this point, and it seems one voice in that camp is probably the biggest name you could get to support someone's MVP case.
Stephen A. Smith was discussing the MVP race with Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson when they were discussing top candidates. Stephen A. then went on to reveal Michael Jordan's vote in the race, which was for Giannis Antetokounmpo. He says that Jordan called him and cussed him out for his opinions on the MVP race, with MJ's support in Giannis's camp.
"There's another Hall of Famer who is one of the greatest players to ever play this game, that has similar initial to yours. He texted me yesterday saying I'm wrong. He doesn't come on First Take, he just calls and cusses me out, but that is okay. He don't necessarily agree, he thinks of Giannis as the leader."
One reason why Jordan wouldn't appear on First Take is that if he answers questions like this publicly, he could be fined for tampering. Jordan is the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, and him publicly saying positive things for Giannis is a slippery slope. We have seen instances of executives being fined for this previously.
Giannis having MJ as an admirer must be extremely motivating for the Greek Freak. The connection makes sense. Giannis is proving himself to be a serial winner in the NBA and we know MJ appreciates that in players. Whether this subtle endorsement actually changes how the ballots will play out is something that will be determined after the final week of the season.