A few days ago, Charles Oakley said that Giannis Antetokounmpo wouldn't have the success he has now back in the 80s and 90s. Oakley, a 6-foot-8 forward that played in the league for 19 seasons during the 80s and the 90s, believes that Antetokounmpo would struggle because he would be forced to take jump shots instead of dominating inside the paint.
Setting the record straight
Oakley's claim was quickly refuted by two-time champion and Detroit Pistons icon Isiah Thomas, who addressed the former's hot take on NBA TV on Monday. Thomas said that Antetokounmpo would undoubtedly be a force not just in the 80s and 90s but any era in basketball.
Thomas also compared the two-time MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awardee to Ralph Sampson, one of the most potent bigs back in the 80s.
"Let's be real. I remember in the 80s, there was a guy by the name Ralph Samson and Hakeem Olajuwon. Before Samson got hurt, Bill Russell said that Samson could be the greatest player ever because of his skill-set, ability to handle the ball, ability to play around the basket, and ability to block shots. Giannis is today's Ralph Samson," Thomas said.
Thomas also jabbed at Oakley and said that even though he might be more physical than Giannis, the Greek Freak would still outplay him.
"Giannis would be going around Oakley and all of them. He will be dunking on all of them. Ginnis is bigger, faster and stronger. You [Oakley] can say all that stuff because you don't play anymore and you've got gray hair, you're sitting on the sidelines smoking cigars about what you used to do. That dude [Giannis] would dog you every single time ya'll step on the court. You might hit him hard, okay, but after you hit him you've got no game."
Isiah Thomas, NBA TV
The proof is in the pudding
Keep in mind that Antetokounmpo, who's currently averaging a career-best of 29.4 points and 11.3 rebounds, is only 27-years of age. So it's fair to say that he may not have hit his prime yet as he continues to get better every season. The Milwaukee forward has already achieved so much in just nine years, including one championship and Finals MVP, thanks to his ridiculous 50-point performance to seal the series.
Thomas also addressed that naysayers should stop saying that Antetokounmpo wouldn't have dominated in the past. And instead, marvel and appreciate Antetokounmpo, who's already solidified himself as one of the most dominant bigs of all time.