Skip to main content

Giannis Antetokounmpo names who was the player he wanted to be as a kid


When we see Giannis Antetokounmpo play, we assume that he's a player of his own making. We haven't seen a player of his size run the length of the floor in just two dribbles and slam it down. Frankly, we may never see a player like him ever again.

Like AI

In a recent interview, Antetokounmpo named a player that influenced his game. No, it's not some big man who dominated like him. Instead, it's a small guard by the name of Allen Iverson. It's a rather uncanny influence Giannis stands close to seven feet tall and weighs about 240 pounds. Iverson is six feet and weighed 165 pounds during his playing days. But as Antetokounmpo explained, he wanted to be like The Answer growing up.

"I started playing basketball because of him. I had the cornrows, I had the headband. I used to be short back then and skinny. I watched a bunch of documentaries of Allen Iverson where he said he wanted to be like MJ. I wanted to be [like] Allen Iverson growing up," Giannis said.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Some say his brute strength echoes that of Shaquille O'Neal. At the peak of his career, O'Neal had to be triple or quadruple-teamed to be stopped — much like how defenses treat Giannis today. Antetokounmpo's dominance on both ends of the floor reminds people of someone like Hakeem Olajuwon or Michael Jordan — the three of them are the only players in NBA history to win the MVP award and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.


As such, it's fascinating to hear from the Greek Freak himself that Iverson is one of the biggest influences of his career. While he didn't explain in detail how and why Iverson inspired him, it's easy to tell why. As for one, Iverson represents the underdogs and outsiders. When he was young, the two-time MVP might have felt that making it to the NBA was a pipe dream. But upon seeing the 76ers legend drop 50 on guys way taller than him, Giannis believed nothing was impossible.

In terms of the game itself, we can say that Iverson's lightning quickness and speed trickled on over to Giannis. In a different era, the Bucks star would probably be camping in the paint, posting people up, and blocking shots. Fortunately, coaches spotted Giannis' inherent mobility and speed. They were smart enough to let Giannis play a different position.

We can say that the six-time All-Star has embraced this underdog mentality to lead the Bucks — a small-market team — all the way to an NBA title. It would've been easier if he had moved to a bigger market where more opportunities lay. Yet Giannis persevered and stuck with his squad. Now, he's not just your ordinary NBA Champion. In an era where players shamefully chase titles by switching teams or forming super teams, Giannis stayed to the team that believed in him since day one.

George Gervin doesn't think MJ is GOAT: 'He couldn't score like Ice

George Gervin doesn't think Michael Jordan is GOAT: 'He couldn't score like Ice'

Many are convinced that Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time, but George Gervin argued that he was a far better scorer

Wiggins has been phenomenal on defense throughout this series, but he turned the tables in Game 3 with a stellar offensive outing

Andrew Wiggins's vicious dunk on Luka Doncic brings Golden State Warriors close to the NBA Finals: "I just saw rim”

Wiggins has been phenomenal on defense throughout this series, but he turned the tables in Game 3 with a stellar offensive outing

Doc Rivers nearly left the Clippers for the Lakers

Doc Rivers once nearly left the Los Angeles Clippers for the Los Angeles Lakers

If Doc Rivers did end up moving to the Lakers, would they have beaten their opponents the way they did in 2020? No one knows, but it's fair to say Frank Vogel was the better coach in the Bubble.

Difference between Jimmy Butler and Ja Morant

Difference between Jimmy Butler and Ja Morant -- one soldiers on while the other whines about dirty plays

Jimmy Butler and Ja Morant received the same borderline dirty fouls that resulted in injuries. But their reactions were different from one another.


Pete Maravich shares who is the greatest basketball player of all time

"He is not really the best passer, I don't think, he's not the best dribbler, he's not the best shooter, he's not the best scorer. He's just the very best."

From being undrafted to a Playoff starter: The journey of Miami Heat guard Max Strus for everyone

From being undrafted to a Playoff starter: Max Strus' NBA journey is a lesson for everyone

Miami Heat are the only team that decided to gamble on Max Strus, and safe to say that ended up paying dividends


Skip Bayless's wife is a fan of LeBron James: "I would like to meet him"

You know this one hurts deep for the most notorius LeBron hater out there.

LaVar Ball wants Kyrie Irving to join the Big Baller Brand

LaVar Ball invites Kyrie Irving to join Big Baller Brand: "You can have all the control you want!"

As Nike and Kyrie Irving appear to head in different ways, Lavar Ball uses this opportunity to lure the Brooklyn Nets star and join the Big Baller Brand.