Isiah Thomas compared Giannis’ 2021 NBA Finals to the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal. However, he also riled up some Dirk fans.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has etched his name in NBA folklore forever with his amazing play in these Finals. The man played with devilish intensity every possession and took his dominance to a point where his opponents just couldn’t keep pace.
His ability to score one-on-one against practically every defender he faced in these playoffs set him apart. Giannis got off to a relatively slow shooting start, shooting 45% from the field against the Miami Heat.
However, the sweep of last year’s finalists helped him build momentum up by the final game of the series. He then began dominating the Brooklyn Nets, who didn’t have the center rotation to keep him at bay 40 minutes.
Giannis suffered what initially appeared to be a long-term knee concern during Game 4 against the Hawks. He sat out the final 2 games of that series as his teammates picked up the slack and powered through to the Finals.
There wasn’t much doubt that he’d play in the Finals, although people were initially skeptical that he’d torn his ACL. What nobody bargained for was Giannis putting up some truly historic numbers in the series.
The Greek Freak pummelled Deandre Ayton into submission all series long. He finished with mind-boggling averages of 35.2 points and 13.2 rebounds on 61.5% from the field.
“This was a Wilt Chamberlain, Shaq type performance, not Dirk Nowitzki, Karl Malone level”: Isiah Thomas
Many people view his closeout Game 6 performance as the very best in NBA Finals history. Isiah Thomas belongs to that camp perhaps, judging from his initial words on the 2-time MVP’s performance.
“I would just say one of the most historical Finals performances EVER that we witnessed tonight. And being in the building and watching it live, some of the dunks looked like he was playing nerfball.”
“But then also to see him go 17 of 19 from the foul line, the importance of a closeout game and having the best game of your life and just a closeout game, it’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. And I’m sure other people will remember it too.”
The part that will leave some NBA fans aggrieved came in the second part of his reaction:
“It’s okay for us to compare him to, like, this was a Wilt Chamberlain, Lew Alcindor, Shaq performance. This wasn’t like a Dirk Nowitzki performance or Karl Malone performance. This was like the GIANTs of our industry, that kind of performance.”