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Comparing Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tim Duncan, And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar At Age 26

Comparing Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tim Duncan, And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar At Age 26

Giannis became the first Bucks player to lead Milwaukee to a championship since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar accomplished the same thing 50 years ago. His age 26 seasons featured some special highs during that postseason run, but we can’t forget about what he did before he topped off his career with his first championship. With the resume Giannis has, he could quit basketball right now and would be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Granted, Giannis is not going to do that. However, his achievements are exceptional, including a Finals MVP, two regular-season MVPs, a Defensive Player of the Year Award, and numerous other accolades. When looking at what he has done this far into his career, how does he compare with two of basketball’s other great names in Tim Duncan and Abdul-Jabbar?

All three could have quit at the age of 26 and still be considered for the Hall of Fame. Giannis has certainly gained some ground in terms of being the best at the position and their overall success. Let’s take a look at the player rankings between Giannis, Kareem, and Duncan at the age of 26.

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo 2017

Stat Totals: 12,319 points, 5,371 rebounds, 2,632 assists, 692 steals, 765 blocks

Stat Averages: 20.9 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.3 BPG

FG Percentage: 53.2%

Games Played: 589

Championships: 1

Finals MVPs: 1

MVP Awards: 2

All-Star Game MVP Awards: 1

Defensive Player of the Year: 1

Rookie of the Year: 0

All-Star Teams: 5

All-NBA Teams: 5

All-Defensive Teams: 4

At such a young age, Giannis achieved great success without having to join a superteam. After winning two straight MVP, including one season of an MVP and DPOY, Giannis could have been frustrated with the Bucks and chose to request a trade to join the Warriors to create an ultra super team. Instead, he kept a promise that he and Khris Middleton set out when they first joined the team. That was to win Milwaukee an NBA championship.

Giannis is just one of three 26-year old or younger players to ever own an MVP, Finals MVP, and Defensive Player of the Year, with the other two being Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon. Giannis also joins these two players as legacy icons that stuck with the team that drafted them and brought the city a title.

Overall, Giannis is a special talent despite his woeful three-point and free throw shooting percentages. With that said, he is one of the best players to finish inside the paint and around the rim. When Giannis led the Bucks over the Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, 30 of his game-high 50 points came on bucks inside the arc.

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Sends Message To Bucks Before Game 1- "I'm Thrilled Milwaukee Is In The Finals..."

Stat Totals: 12,263 points, 6,249 rebounds, 1,744 assists, 112 steals (1 season), 283 blocks (1 season)

Stat Averages: 30.5 PPG, 15.5 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.3 SPG**, 3.5 BPG**

FG Percentage: 55.2%

Games Played: 402

Championships: 1

Finals MVPs: 1

MVP Awards: 3

All-Star Game MVP Awards: 0

Defensive Player of the Year: 0

Rookie of the Year: 1

All-Star Teams: 5

All-NBA Teams: 5

All-Defensive Teams: 3

Statistically speaking, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the best scoring big man of his time. His 30.5 points per game were a trend that eventually led him to lead the all-time scoring mark in league history. As far as his early playing days go, Kareem was the first Giannis Antetokonmpo in Milwaukee. In 1971, the Rookie of the Year and MVP led the team to their first-ever championship. Then, Kareem added two more MVPs to his collection before leaving for Los Angeles where he won three more MVPs and five more championships.

Before steals and blocks were calculated as stats, Kareem was the most dominant scorer and rebounder in the league. As evident by his near 30-point, 15-rebound efforts daily, Kareem likely would have been higher than both Giannis and Duncan had blocks been kept in his earlier seasons. That is evident based on his 3.5 blocks in his one season before his age 27 seasons.

Kareem falls to No. 2 because of the championship element. There is only one player that has recorded multiple championships and Finals MVPs on this list, which gives him the slight edge in these power rankings.

1. Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan

Stat Totals: 10,324 points, 5,548 rebounds, 1,147 assists, 352 steals, 1,129 blocks

Stat Averages: 22.8 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.7 SPG, 2.5 BPG

FG Percentage: 50.9%

Games Played: 451

Championships: 2

Finals MVPs: 2

MVP Awards: 2

All-Star Game MVP Awards: 1

Defensive Player of the Year: 0

Rookie of the Year: 1

All-Star Teams: 5

All-NBA Teams: 6

All-Defensive Teams: 6

Despite playing over 100 games less than Giannis, Duncan owns more rebounds, blocks, and championships, including one more Finals MVP trophy. Duncan owns the same amount of regular-season MVPs as well. Altogether, Duncan is similar to Giannis. Both players stayed with their first team and led their team to their first championship in years.

For Duncan and the Spurs, it was their first championship in franchise history. Ultimately, Duncan led the Spurs to five championships, including two in his first six years in the league. Outside of one injury-plagued season that saw Duncan play 50 games, he was pretty durable, playing more than 80 games three times.

As far as individual records, the two Finals MVPs have to put Duncan over Giannis when comparing the two. Giannis led the Bucks to the No. 1 seed during both of his MVP seasons, but couldn’t punch his ticket to the NBA Finals. Duncan gets the nod over Kareem because of his extra championship and Finals MVP despite owning one less regular-season MVP.


If we were looking at total careers, we would give Kareem the edge over Duncan; however, the early parts of their careers have Duncan having the best “start.” All three players recorded five to six seasons, so we have a surplus of data between the three. By the time each player reached the end of their 26 seasons, it was Duncan that has the best overall resume despite having deficits in individual stats.

The next metric will be age 30, so it will be interesting to see if Giannis can add to his already impressive resume. As we said, Giannis is a Hall of Famer today. What is next for the Greek Freak?


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