Before beginning, a little preamble is necessary. As all sane Milwaukee Bucks fans would agree upon, Giannis Antetokounmpo is himself the bright future of our beloved NBA franchise. It’s not an understatement to confer Giannis has entered demigod status in the hearts of players and fans alike. Likewise, for the ensuing comparisons, I could have easily chosen all Superman-esque, hero protagonist, Morgan-Freeman-as-God-type characters. However appealing that sounds, I chose to avoid this route in favor of adding variety that attempts to capture all aspects of Giannis’s intriguing persona and skillset. Now, without further ado, let the comparisons begin.
Movie: Monsters Inc.
Okay, I’ll admit it, this is an odd starting point for the franchise’s centerpiece; but hear me out.
If you haven’t seen Monsters Inc. yet, get out from under your rock and go see it immediately – it’s a classic. Essentially, Sulley works as a “scarer” (with Mike as his assistant) in the parallel universe of Monstropolis. Human screams power their world, so it’s the scarers’ jobs to elicit them from unsuspecting human children. Boo, an adorably small human girl, escapes into the monster’s realm and falls into the friendly arms of Sulley. From here, Boo’s personality is spotlighted: she is young, naïve, and lovable.
Giannis, or better yet, Rookie Giannis, was much of the same. At the ripe age of nineteen, Giannis was selected fifteenth in the 2013 NBA Draft. Similarly, Giannis was unsophisticated in the ways of high-level American-style basketball. You might even say that he was unfamiliar with high-level basketball in general, considering his previous experience peaked at a second-tier Greek league. These childlike characteristics were only amplified by his unforgettable baby face, which further suggests he was as much of an innocent, unknowing toddler as Boo.
Also comparable between the two are their respective early hints of ferocity. In the movie, Boo attacks her greatest fear, Randall, to save Sulley. Afterwards, she gives the largest roar her vocal chords could muster. This instantly reminded me of sophomore season Dark Giannis’s mean mugs. Specifically, the one during the Knicks game (the game after the infamous “GiannisGate”) where Giannis went coast to coast, utilizing his long strides and newfound behind-the-back dribbling skills, to eventually take off from the free throw line and power home a massive dunk. Then, Giannis gave a “ferocious” mean mug. However, rewatch the video below and look at the bench’s reaction (specifically John Henson). Rather than going along with Giannis, Henson and others are cracking up at his meek attempt to act intimidating. Perhaps more practice, an aged face, and some bitter rivalries are needed before Giannis can break that gem out for real. As for now, his “ferociousness” is reminiscent of Boo’s roar.
Finally, Boo and Giannis are both innovators. Through Boo’s assistance, it is discovered that a child’s laugh is more energetic than a child’s scream. Thus, Monstropolis enters into a new age of power. Similarly, Giannis’s play style is priming the NBA for unknown territory. Giannis is a seven-foot point guard racking up triple-doubles at a similar rate as Westbrook and Green (at least post-ASB). The Greek Freak is simply leading the way to the future all-big, all-capable NBA. Much like Boo, he is an early artifact for a novel era. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the Milwaukee Bucks version of Boo.
Movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Quote: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Ferris Bueller and Giannis Antetokounmpo both do their best to personify fun. From the start of the movie, Ferris is constantly looking to make a good time out of what should be a monotonous day of school. Convincing his friend Cameron to lend the adventure-seeking trio his father’s prized Ferrari, the group catches a Cubs game, dines out at a fancy French restaurant, and hysterically performs in a parade. Ferris does not possess a boring bone in his body.
Giannis is the Bucks’ own fun-loving youngster. Few fans would disagree that these past few seasons with Giannis at helm have been some of the best Bucks television in a long, long time. Flavorful dunks, immense eurosteps gyrosteps, and towering blocks all perfectly characterize Giannis’s glamorous style of basketball. While some naysayers might deem Bucks basketball as mediocre and unskilled, no one would deny its watchability. Similar to Ferris, Giannis leads his fellow teammates to comparable enjoyment depths (i.e. soaring alley-oops to Parker, full-court skip passes to Bayless, etc.). Giannis Antetokounmpo is the Milwaukee Bucks version of Ferris Bueller.
Movie: The Matrix Trilogy
Quote: Morpheus: “He is the One”
Yes, I’ve saved the best for last.
This is the type of comparison I talked about in the introduction. Honestly, all of Giannis’s movie doppelgangers could have easily been this main protagonist who does it all and saves everyone type of dude. But again, doing that would have allowed for no variety. Alas, here we are, relating The Matrix Trilogy’s Neo to our very own Greek Freak.
Providing a background on Neo, the matrix, and all of its components is an unreasonably lengthy and complex task that I will avoid. However, what the story comes down to is a single fact: Neo is the One. In other words, and summarizing greatly and disregarding a few counter-theories, Neo is the only person who can save Zion and thus humanity. Likewise, Giannis is the only one who can save the Bucks. He is the One.
It could be said that Giannis has already begun the saving process. When Marc Lasry and Wes Edens purchased the Milwaukee Bucks from Senator Herb Kohl, keeping the Bucks in Wisconsin was a necessary first-step towards making an agreement. Despite this, the future of the Bucks in Wisconsin was never truly secure, as the Bucks’ lease on the BMO Harris Bradley Center was running out and NBA commissioner Adam Silver demanded that a proposal for a new, up-to-par arena must be in place in the near future. Ultimately, a proposal passed following a lengthy, multi-step litigation process. However, it might not have been possible without the miracle that was the successful 2014-2015 Milwaukee Bucks season and the perceived bright future of the Bucks’ trio core, especially Giannis. It’s not too much of a stretch to believe that if not for drafting Giannis, the Bucks would soon be on the move to Seattle, Las Vegas, or some other NBA-deprived metropolis.
Looking forward, Giannis can continue to push the Bucks to new heights. As point guard moving ahead (whatever that title means), Giannis will look to continue his triple-double spree and secure more wins. The Milwaukee Bucks franchise is undoubtedly hedging their bets on Giannis to lead their team to a 1970-1971 level of success. I know it, you know it, everyone knows it – Giannis Antetokounmpo is the One.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the Milwaukee Bucks version of Neo.
Don’t forget to tell us (@CreamCityCtral) or me (@MatthewContaldi) if you agree, disagree, or have any better fitting movie characters for Giannis Antetokounmpo in mind!