Nobody needs a former NBA player to tell them Giannis Antetokounmpo is great at basketball. Still, it’s reassuring to know not all of them share Charles Oakley’s head-scratching opinion that the Milwaukee Bucks superstar would be a bench player if playing decades ago.
Appearing in NBA TV’s studio Monday night, Isiah Thomas defiantly dismissed the notion that Antetokounmpo couldn’t flourish in any era.
The former Detroit Pistons great called the Greek Freak a modern-day Ralph Sampson and said Giannis would “absolutely” dominate if playing in the ’80s, ’90s, or “3020 when we get there.” And he was sure to take some jabs at Oakley along the way.
“Dude, Giannis going around Oakley. Giannis going around all them,” Thomas said. “He dunking on them. He bigger, he faster, he stronger. You can talk all that stuff cause you don’t play no more. You can talk all that stuff cause you got gray hair and you sitting on the sidelines smoking cigars [talking] 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.”
Thomas added that, “We ain’t never seen no dude like this come into our league.”
"That dude would dog you every single time y'all stepped on the court."@IsiahThomas gave his take on whether or not Giannis would be a MVP in the 80s/90s on #Gametime. pic.twitter.com/6AGagbJUyC
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 1, 2022
Antetokounmpo certainly is a one-of-a-kind talent. While the 27-year-old lacks a reliable jumper, the 6’11” star can play anywhere and do just about everything else on the basketball court. He’s well on his way to joining Thomas in the Basketball Hall of Fame one day.
Admitting as much doesn’t diminish any of Thomas’ accomplishments with the “Bad Boys” Pistons. It just means he has common sense.