Giannis Antetokounmpo lands on the Time 100 list of most influential people of 2020
Fresh off winning his second straight NBA Most Valuable Player Award, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo also found himself on the annual Time 100 list, the magazine's summary of the 100 most influential people in the world for 2020.
Antetokounmpo, who became the third player in NBA history to win the Defensive Player of the Year and MVP awards in a season, has risen meteorically from humble beginnings in Greece to become the face of the Milwaukee franchise and one of the faces of the league. His team also took a memorable stand by electing to sit out a playoff game in the wake of violence in Kenosha, including a police officer shooting of Jacob Blake seven times in the back. It was a decision that cascaded throughout pro sports.
Fittingly, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar penned the short tribute to Antetokounmpo for the list. Abdul-Jabbar won two MVPs while playing for the Bucks (and then a third) in the early 1970s before expressing his desire to play elsewhere; the franchise ultimately traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Antetokounmpo himself is approaching free agency and faces a high-profile decision whether to sign a long-term extension in Milwaukee as soon as this offseason.
"I have no doubt that Giannis will extend the NBA records he holds — he already has the highest single-season Player Efficiency Rating, which combines all of a player’s stats, in NBA history — possibly beyond the reach of future generations," Abdul-Jabbar wrote. "But a sports hero is more than records. Giannis sets an example by standing up for what he believes in. After leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the playoffs, he and his team protested the police shooting of Jacob Blake in their home state by refusing to play, sparking a wave of strikes and postponements throughout the NBA. I once asked Giannis what his name meant, and he told me 'the crown has arrived.' It certainly has."
Antetokounmpo is categorized under the "Pioneers" category on the Time 100. The list also includes a "Titans" category that features, among others, former Marquette University star and NBA legend Dwyane Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union.