NBA Analyst Kenny Smith Explains Similarities Between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon

Published 07/29/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
Mar 7, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Team LeBron forward Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks (34) reacts to being named the MVP of the 2021 NBA All-Star Game at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


26-YO superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is sitting on the throne at the moment with an NBA ring to his name. Milwaukee Bucks got past the in-form Phoenix Suns to win the 2021 championship. And the one to be thanked is the boy from Greece.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo gave his everything to the city of Milwaukee since the moment he stepped into the league. His transformation from being the 15th overall draft pick to becoming an NBA champion has been a phenomenal journey.

Jul 20, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) celebrates with the NBA Finals MVP Trophy following the game against the Phoenix Suns following game six of the 2021 NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Having said that, the Greek Freak is earning some worthy comparisons on his fiery run this year. He is often weighed against the legacy of Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon. Several pundits have found striking similarities between the two, particularly in their style of dominance. NBA commentator and analyst Kenny Smith waves a green flag to this observation.

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Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is an all-round player

Kenny Smith summarizes the two players, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Hakeem Olajuwon, with the word ‘relentless’. He believes they both hold a promising ability to take the offensive as well as defensive roles in their stride. In a recent interview with Bill Simmons, Smith said – “When you talk about Hakeem, you always say he’s relentless. He will go help on defense, run back on and block a shot.”

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Smith further added his stance on what makes Giannis and Hakeem so similar on the court. “If Hakeem was having an offensive night, he’d have 10 offensive rebounds. He could dominate the game on the offensive glass, namely three other superstars that could do that (including Giannis)…Because they [Hakeem and Giannis] can shot block, you could be a great driver and can’t score. He [Giannis] can defend you in so many different ways.”

The point that stands tall in this conversation is that players like Giannis and Hakeem can do a wide range of things during the game. However, most players of today’s times are only defined into specific roles.

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Giannis paving his career similar to Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem Olajuwon is a 2-time NBA champion with the Rockets, one of the most notable players in NBA history. The Hall of Famer has won two DPOY awards during the course of his spectacular career. And that’s how he became an all-rounder category player, similar to Antetokounmpo.

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Giannis is currently holding one championship and one DPOY award, and he has a long time to flourish in the league. As far as his achievements are concerned, Giannis’ list is likely to shape quite the same as Olajuwon. With two NBA MVPs already in his pocket, the 2021 champion is on the verge of creating his legacy.

WATCH THIS STORY: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Other Stars That Have Had Heated Moments in the Playoffs So Far

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Pavni Ahuja

500 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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