NBA Finals 2021: 'Enjoyed watching greatness', says Stephen Curry
Giannis Antetokounmpo established himself as an NBA great, according to Stephen Curry, as he ended the Bucks' long wait for a second title.
Stephen Curry and LeBron James were prominent among the NBA superstars to congratulate Giannis Antetokounmpo on his title-winning Game 6 display in the NBA Finals.
Antetokounmpo stamps his name in history
Antetokounmpo put up 50 points – a playoff career high – to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a series-clinching 105-98 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.
The 'Greek Freak' became only the seventh player to register a half-century of points in a single Finals game and the second to do so in the title-winning contest, after Bob Pettit also tallied exactly 50 for the St Louis Hawks in 1958.
Antetokounmpo also contributed 14 rebounds and five blocks in his third 40-point, 10-rebound game of the Finals – a feat only previously achieved by Shaquille O'Neal for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000. No player had previously had 40 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks.
The two-time MVP finished the series averaging 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. LeBron James for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015 (35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists) is the only other player to average 35, 10 and five in a Finals series.
Antetokounmpo was the obvious choice then to be named the NBA Finals MVP, again putting him in esteemed company.
After Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon, he is the third player to win a regular season MVP award, Defensive Player of the Year and Finals MVP across his career.
Words of praise to Antetokounmpo
The eyes of the world were on Antetokounmpo on Tuesday and some of the biggest names around paid tribute.
Golden State Warriors great Curry posted on Twitter: "Aye! Enjoyed watching greatness out there tonight. GREATNESS! @Giannis_An34 congrats bro."
Aye! Enjoyed watching greatness out there tonight. GREATNESS! @Giannis_An34 congrats bro— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) July 21, 2021
James himself, a four-time Finals MVP, said: "Salute & Congrats @Giannis_An34!! You earned that s***!!"
There were also congratulations from three-time Finals MVP Magic Johnson and 2006 winner Dwyane Wade.
"Giannis Antetokounmpo!! 50 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks... sheesh," Johnson said. "Congratulations to the MVP!"
Wade added: "Legendary. Congrats to @Giannis_An34 and the @Bucks."
Meanwhile, Rudy Gobert, who won Defensive Player of the Year in 2018, 2019 and 2021 as Antetokounmpo was selected in 2020, had a message, too.
"So happy for Giannis and Milwaukee man... amazing to see what happens when you put your heart and your soul into something and stay genuine and true to yourself," said the Utah Jazz center. "Inspirational."
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