Magic Johnson, the Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations–and one of the NBA’s five greatest players of all-time–has given a glowing review of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
According to ESPN, the Hall of Fame Lakers legend said that Antetokounmpo would one day be an MVP and lead the Bucks to a championship. He’s currently averaging 28.1 PPG and 10.1 RPG for the Bucks, who have won three straight games heading into their matchup Monday night with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Upon returning from a sore knee recently, Antetokounmpo erupted for 41 points and 13 rebounds in a win over the Brooklyn Nets. His presence has clearly drawn Johnson’s eye.
“I'm just happy he's starting in the All-Star game because he deserves that,” Johnson told ESPN. “And he's going to be like an MVP, a champion, this dude he's going to put Milwaukee on the map. And I think he's going to bring them a championship one day."
The Milwaukee product, affectionately known as the “Greek Freak,” was selected by Stephen Curry for the All-Star Game’s new format. At 23 years old, Antetokounmpo figures to play in many more All-Star Games.
Antetokounmpo appreciated the comments, too. "A compliment like that coming from Magic, that's huge,” he said. “We grew up watching Magic; I personally grew up watching Magic making those passes … Just trying to be Magic.”
The Bucks are not far removed from hosting a first-round playoff series. Despite a tumultuous season that has included the firing of head coach Jason Kidd, the Bucks (26-22) are only three games behind the third-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.
If the Bucks continue their ascent, it’s conceivable that Antetokounmpo could draw MVP consideration this season. The impending return of forward Jabari Parker should only help Milwaukee in their playoff chase.
Keep it here on AXS.com for more NBA news and tickets to select games.