The transformation of Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has been quite an amazing ride, and it seems that the 2019 NBA MVP isn’t done yet. The Athens native has come a long way from selling CDs and watches in the streets of Sepolia, now becoming one of the biggest international stars to hit the biggest league in the world. Antetokounmpo’s evolution has been awe-inspiring, to say the least.
Let’s take a look at how The Greek Freak came to be through the years.
A young Giannis Antetokounmpo entered the 2013 NBA Draft after an impressive two-year stint with Filathlitikos of the Greek B Basketball League. The 18-year-old was officially listed at 6-foot-9 and only 215 pounds.
Though a lot of teams were intrigued by the international prospect, Antetokounpo was left untouched in the lottery and was snagged by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 15th pick. He would go on to play a total of 77 games for the Bucks as a rookie, averaging a meager 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in 24.6 minutes per game of play to earn him All-Rookie Second-Team honors by year’s end. Decent numbers for a skinny rookie still learning the ropes, but nothing all that exciting.
It was in his second year when the world would really catch a glimpse of the forward’s potential. Giannis continued to grow both in height and weight, which eventually translated to a better game overall on the court.
Antetokounmpo was named as the Eastern Conference Player of the Week in mid-February 2014 and would go on to compete in his second Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend. The sophomore also joined that year’s Slam Dunk Contest and, though he failed to make it to the final round, was slowly proving that he had some hops in his arsenal. His incredible physicality was slowly starting to come to the forefront.
The 2016-2017 NBA season showed the league that Giannis Antetokounmpo was inching his way to becoming a force to be reckoned with in the league. Antetokounmpo was continuously bulking up and was starting to develop his game even further.
In February 2017, Giannis set a new career high of 41 points against the late Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. The 22-year-old also made his first All-Star Game appearance that year, becoming the youngest player in Bucks history to be named an All-Star. Giannis also became the first player in NBA history to finish the season in the top 20 in the league in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. He was named Most Improved Player for his efforts.
But of course, he did not stop there.
The next season, Giannis Antetokounmpo became virtually unstoppable, putting up 26.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. He finished sixth in MVP voting, setting the stage for his crowning achievement to date in the 2018-19 season.
By the time the 2018-19 campaign rolled around, Antetokounmpo claimed he had gained a whopping total of 51 pounds of muscle since entering the NBA back in 2013. Now standing at almost 7-feet and weighing around 260 pounds, The Greek Freak was fully living up to his nickname.
Giannis dominated his sixth season in the league with career-best averages of 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists while shooting 57.8% from the field, which earned him quite a number of accolades. He was named as one of the captains in the 2019 All-Star Game and was a member of the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team. Of course, he also earned MVP honors, leading the Bucks to the best record in the NBA and an Eastern Conference Finals appearance.
Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t step on the brakes coming into the 2019-20 season. His triple-double in the season opener against the Houston Rockets started off another incredible year for the 25-year-old. In December 2019, The Greek Freak knocked down a career-high five 3-pointers to lead the Bucks to an impressive 122-118 win against the Lakers to claim the best record in the league at 25-4.
His dominance carried over to the new decade, becoming the first Buck since 1996 to have a 30-20 game after posting a massive 36-20 stat line against the Philadelphia 76ers. Giannis also made headlines by again being named captain of Team Giannis in the 2020 All-Star Game alongside LeBron James.
Despite all his accomplishments, Giannis Antetokounmpo remains humble and hungry. It seems as though as his evolution and transformation isn’t done yet, and it will be exciting to see how all this unfolds. While the Bucks superstar already has a ton of individual awards, next up for him is finally getting that Larry O’Brien Trophy and becoming an NBA champion.