The Lakers and Bucks are both sitting at 24 -4 in their conferences, having an impressive start to the season. Everyone is hoping we see them in the Finals and get a spectacular matchup — the reigning MVP in Milwaukee vs. the most dominant player of the era in Los Angeles. One is nearing the end of his career, the other his heir apparent. Will Kareem manage to outplay Wilt and get his hands on the Larry O’Brien trophy?
They say history repeats itself, but this is a bit much. 48 years ago, we had the 23-year-old reigning MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (his first season in the NBA with his new name) who ended up winning his second consecutive MVP in the ’71-72 season. Giannis is the newly-turned 25-year-old MVP seeking his second straight MVP. Both teams started the season with a 24-4 record.
On the West coast, Wilt Chamberlain was the 35-year-old league vet who’d already won 4 MVPs earlier in his career. LeBron turns 35 this month and has already won 4 league MVPs. Both teams started with a 24-4 record. Wilt wasn’t the clear no.1 on the Lakers because this guy named Jerry West was on the team. LeBron now has Anthony Davis to share the box score with.
The similarities may be fascinating, but here’s how we know history won’t repeat itself with 100% accuracy. If you look at the box-score of their matchup on January 9th, 1972, you’ll notice the following. Wilt, at age 35, played 48 minutes, and Kareem spent 47 minutes on the floor. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that LeBron and Giannis won’t reach 47 minutes played.
There is no 3 point percentage because there were no three-pointers, and there are no stats on steals, blocks, turnovers, or personal fouls because who cares. We can safely conclude that analytics back then wasn’t as important as it is today.
If you do think this all points to history repeating itself, then spend a few bucks on the Bucks tonight, and on Lakers winning the title. Milwaukee won the regular-season matchup 120-104, and the Lakers won the claim against the New York Knicks. OK, now we know for sure history won’t wholly repeat itself.