If you were to describe Giannis Antetokounmpo to someone who didn’t watch basketball, you’d have to start with a play. Any play will do, really. Each one tells a unique story in the career arc of an evolutionary talent. They each speak of a player testing his physical limits and expanding the range of his imagination.
Like the one where he caught an outlet pass at midcourt on the run against the Pacers a few years ago. Antetokounmpo needed just one dribble to accelerate past the 3-point line, splitting two defenders in the process, before flying past a helpless C.J. Miles en route to a thunderous dunk.
Or the time he stripped Portland’s C.J. McCollum in the final seconds of a one-point game, then raced down the floor ahead of two Blazers for a game-winning jam. (That all-time moment ranked a mere 33rd on an official NBA compilation video.)
There was the alley-oop he caught with two hands just as it was hitting the backboard against the Bulls before sending it home in a smooth, fluid motion that defied the laws of physics. You could bring up the windmills — there have been many — or the double-clutch throwdown against Miami, a personal favorite.
You could reference all of these singular moments and still only scratch the surface of what Antetokounmpo can do on a basketball court. With his 6-11 frame and wingspan stretching to the heavens, there are plays only Antetokounmpo can make and moves only he would even dare try to pull off in the moment.
Like a young Julius Erving in his ABA prime, you have to see Antetokounmpo in action to truly appreciate him. And like the Doctor, he seems to invent a new move every night.