Giannis Antetokounmpo has turned into one of the NBA’s most dominant forces and cemented his place among the all-time greats last season with his performance leading the Bucks to a championship, saving his best for last with a 50-point game to clinch his first ring.
That effort from Giannis in the postseason won over just about every skeptic of his, as even the likes of Shaq and others have given him his due props for being a dominant big man who could hold his own at any time. However, there are apparently still some who don’t believe Giannis’ game, which is about as timeless as it gets, would translate to the 80s and 90s, as Charles Oakley made headllines over the weekend when he made the outrageous claim that Giannis would’ve been a bench player “back in the day.”
Charles Oakley says Giannis Antetokounmpo would come off the bench in his era 😯
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) February 25, 2022
It is one of the funniest examples of a player from that era downplaying the success of a current star, and on Monday night Isiah Thomas was in studio for NBA TV when they had a Bucks-Hornets game and was teed up for a question about how Giannis’ game would translate across eras. Thomas had a hilarious response to Oakley, saying Antetokounmpo would “dog you every single time you stepped on the court.”
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 1, 2022
“Dude, Giannis going around Oakley. Giannis going around all them. He dunking on them. He bigger, he faster, he stronger. You can talk all that stuff cause you don’t play no more,” Thomas said. “You can talk all that stuff cause you got gray hair and sittin on the sidelines smoking cigars talkin about what you used to do. That dude would dog you every single time you stepped on the court. Now, you may hit him hard, ok, alright, after you hit him hard you ain’t got no game. You ain’t got no game.”
You’d be hard pressed to find too many people who would side with Oakley in this argument, particularly given what we saw from Giannis in the postseason when he answered just about every question about whether he could still dominate when teams load up on him in the playoffs and try to beat him up. Previously that had been the critique of his game, but that’s been pretty well put to rest and Thomas made it abundantly clear what he, a Hall of Famer of that same era, thinks of Oakley’s assertion.