Giannis Antetokounmpo finally ascended to basketball’s mountaintop earlier this year. Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks to the franchise’s first championship since 1971, earning NBA Finals MVP honors for his performance on the game’s biggest stage — the Greek Freak averaged 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, five assists, 1.8 blocks, and 1.2 steals in 39.8 minutes per game while playing on a knee injury that he suffered in the Eastern Conference Finals.
For a player who had won back-to-back NBA MVP awards, Antetokounmpo had always made clear his goal was to become a champion. Despite this, Harris Stavrou of SPORT24 in Greece highlighted a quote Antetokounmpo gave where he expressed his belief that he is not yet the best basketball player in the world. He went on to list a number of players who he believes are better than him, and gave his pick for the best player on the planet right now.
Giannis with the quote of the year: "I like being a hunter. I am not the best player in the world. I am telling you, i am not! KD, LeBron, Kawhi, Luka, Curry, AD might be. I am not. I am still hunting the All-Time Greats. LeBron is still the best player in the world".
— Harris Stavrou (@harris_stavrou) September 24, 2021
Antetokounmpo has never been the kind of guy to say he’s the best player in the world, so even if this is true (and he certainly has a case!), he’s probably never going to explicitly say it. Picking James is an interesting choice, however, if only because he’s about to enter his 19th season in the league, and it’s something else that he’s still performing at a level that leads to him being in this conversation.