Why Giannis Antetokounmpo bills Steph Curry, not himself, as best NBA player

Why Giannis considers Steph, not himself, as best NBA player originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo recently was ranked as the NBA’s top player entering the 2022-23 season in ESPN’s annual list of the top 100 players.

But in his mind, he’s not the league’s best player. That title belongs to the reigning NBA Finals MVP.

“I believe the best player in the world is Steph Curry,” Antetokounmpo said Sunday at Bucks Media Day.

It’s not that Antetokounmpo was rooting for Curry and the Warriors to defeat the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals -- although he might have been considering the Bucks were sent home by Boston in the second round of the postseason.

Antetokounmpo, a two-time MVP and NBA champion himself, has a specific reason for why he tabs Curry as the world's top baller.

"Do I believe I’m one of the best players in the league, and the way I help my team be great and win games, it’s efficient and effective? Yeah, I do believe that," Antetokounmpo said. "I’m mature enough, I’m old enough to understand that.

"Do I believe I’m the best player in the world? No. I think the best player in the world is the person that is the last one standing. The person that takes his team to the Finals, to the finish line, and helps them win games and become champion."

At Warriors Media Day later on Sunday afternoon, Curry learned of Antetokounmpo's high praise and agreed with his thought process in the best player debate.

“I was thinking the same thing about him last year coming off their [championship],” Curry said.

The Bucks won their second championship in franchise history in 2021. Antetokounmpo was named the 2021 NBA Finals MVP and closed out the series by dropping 50 points on the Phoenix Suns in Game 6.

"Two years when we did that, yeah," Antetokounmpo said. "When I was sleeping in my bed, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, maybe I’m the best player in the world.’ But now, no."

Antetokounmpo further explained his take with a classic analogy from the basement.

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"The way I view it, the winner is the best," Antetokounmpo said. "The guy that wins is the best. When I play a game of ping pong -- when I go to my house and play against my brothers, when I win, and I play against Thanasis, Kostas and Alex and then my mom and [wife] Mariah and I win, I’m the best.

"If Kostas played really good, a great series but didn’t win, how can he be the best when I won?"

The Bucks and Warriors are two of the top favorites to come away with the title. Could the league be in store for a Giannis-Steph Finals next season?

That would crown a new champion and decide Antetokounmpo's greatest player debate.

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