Giannis Antetokounmpo AKA the Greek Freak is the reigning NBA Finals MVP. He is simply the most unstoppable force in modern basketball. This has drawn comparisons between him and Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq, who was nicknamed “Superman” has won 3 championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and another championship with the Miami Heat.
Both Shaq and Giannis each have unique physical and basketball abilities, that make them unguardable. The comparisons between these two players along with the fact that Giannis has won his first ring begs the question. Can the Greek Freak surpass Shaquille O’Neal?
How do Giannis Antetokounmpo and Shaq fare against each other?
Giannis has stayed with the Milwaukee Bucks his entire career. On the contrary, Shaquille O’Neal has been in more than 4 NBA teams his entire career. Shaq spent the first 4 years of his career in the Orlando Magic. He then moved to the Los Angeles Lakers where he won his first title at age 27. This timeframe is almost identical to the Greek Freak, who was 27 when he won his title last year.
Shaq averaged around 29.7 PTS 13.8 RBD and 3.7 AST and finally 3 BLKs a game during his first championship season. Getting 14 RBD and 3 BLK as an average shows us the extent to which the big man could play during his prime. Shaq was simply unstoppable due to his giant frame and size. He would simply post up and dunk on any big man in the league with ease.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has just come off a championship season himself. He led the Milwaukee Bucks to defeat the Phoenix Suns in 6 games. Additionally, he scored 50 PTS in an NBA Finals game. This feat of greatness is quite rare and deserves recognition.
He has averaged 29.9 PTS 11.6 RBD and 5.8 AST. This shows that he is a player with a similar impact as Shaq on the court. The Greek Freak dominates opponents on both ends of the floor and is without a doubt, one of the best players in the league.
Giannis doesn’t need to surpass Shaq in terms of titles
Most NBA players and analysts “ring count” when comparing players across eras. This seemingly allows them to rank the players in accordance with greatness. However, 3peating or building a dynasty is near impossible in the modern NBA. This is because each team has the resources to recruit players and stay competitive.
Shaquille O’Neal may have won 4 championships. However, he had a young superstar in the making in Kobe Bryant for the first 3. Additionally, he had a prime Dwayne Wade to help him win his 4th championship in Miami.
This is the opposite of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who chose to stay with his franchise and utilize the players the team recruited such as Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. These players are nowhere close to Kobe and Dwade as superstars. This brings greater value to the Milwaukee Bucks championship.
Therefore, If Giannis manages to become a repeat champion without a second real superstar. It will be hard to keep him out of comparison with Shaq.
Additionally, Giannis is better at the three-pointer and free throws than Shaq was. Therefore, Giannis will make a path for himself as a lone superstar along the lines of Dirk, who carried his team to the NBA Finals. Another championship without a superstar guard to support him also boosts his case against Shaq.