What makes the Milwaukee Bucks' star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (pronounced "YAH-nis An-teh-tuh-KOOM-po") such a special player? See for yourself.
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This picture was taken on January 13, 2017, when the Bucks played the Miami Heat. It hasn't been altered. (None of the pictures on FOTO have, but it's worth emphasizing here.) So, Giannis Antetokoumpo is getting ready to dunk a basketball. This is not unusual: He dunks a basketball most nights. Many pros do. But in the process of dunking this basketball, Giannis has somehow brought it back so far behind his head, with both hands, that it's basically sitting on his shoulder blades. This, it seems fair to say, is difficult—and the difficulty may have something to do with the expression on Giannis' face, which suggests extreme exertion as well as extreme excitement about what is happening. But then, check out his feet: now it all looks effortless, like he's walking on air. Insanely athletic, intensely focused, supremely passionate, and enormously skilled, Giannis Antetokounmpo can do just about anything on a basketball court.
Here are some of the things he does.
Mike McGinnis/Getty ImagesHe DribblesThough he stands 6'11" and is typically listed as a forward, Giannis has excellent ball-handling skills, and sometimes runs point for the Bucks offense. Pictured: Bucks vs. Orlando Magic, April 1, 2016.Vaughn Ridley/Getty ImagesHe DrivesPictured: Bucks at Toronto Raptors, January 27, 2017Duane Burleson/Getty ImagesHe Splits the DefensePictured: Bucks at Detroit Pistons, February 28, 2018.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesHe DistributesOver the past two seasons, the Greek Freak (as Giannis, who hails from Athens, is playfully known) has averaged more than 5 assists per game. Pictured: Bucks at New York Knicks, November 6, 2015.Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesHe Tips OffGiven his long reach and explosive leaping ability, the forward-who-sometimes-runs-point also takes tip offs. Pictured: Bucks vs. Celtics, January 28, 2017.Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty ImagesHe Protects the RimIn the 2016-17 season, Giannis averaged nearly 2 blocked shots per game. Pictured: Bucks at Sacramento Kings, March 22, 2017.
Mike McGinnis/Getty ImagesHe Strips the BallPictured: Bucks vs. Raptors, April 22, 2017.Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesHe Closes OutPictured: 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles.Greg Nelson/Sports Illustrated/Getty ImagesHe Cleans the GlassGiannis is averaging 10 rebounds per game this season. Pictured: Bucks at Oklahoma City Thunder, December 29, 2017.
Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesHe Finishes with the Right ...Bucks at Washington Wizards, December 23, 2016.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images... and the LeftPictured: Bucks at Chicago Bulls, April 20, 2015.Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty ImagesHe Spots UpThis season, Giannis is shooting better than 53% from the field, and averaging 27.3 points per game. Pictured: Bucks at Atlanta Hawks, October 29, 2017.
Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty ImagesHe SpansGiannis boasts a seven-foot wingspan.Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesHe SkiesPictured: Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers, April 13, 2015.Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesHe DunksPictured: Bucks at Los Angeles Clippers, March 24, 2014.
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty ImagesHe Takes Free ThrowsFree throws aren't the most impressive part of Giannis' game, but since his first season, he's shot better than 75% from the charity stripe. Bucks at Hawks, October 29, 2017.Kevin Mazur/WireImageHe Makes FriendsPictured: Giannis greets Chance the Rapper at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. At 23, Giannis is already a two-time All-Star, and this year he finished first in player voting and second in fan voting (behind LeBron James.)David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty ImagesHe Wears Cool ShoesGiannis is sponsored by Nike, which plans to release his first signature shoe in 2018. Pictured: Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers, March 19, 2018.
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty ImagesHe Carries the BallIt's the NBA; everybody does it. Pictured: Bucks at Hawks, October 29, 2017.Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesHe Makes Defenders Wish It Would All Just StopPictured: Giannis preparing to dunk, thunderously, during the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans. Behind him, Warriors guard and two-time MVP Steph Curry lies prostrate on the ground, with his head in his hands.Rob Carr/Getty ImagesHe Congratulates His TeammatesIn Giannis' first year with Milwaukee, the Bucks went 15-67. This year they're on pace to finish 43-39 and make the playoffs for the third time in four years. Pictured: Bucks at Wizards, January 6, 2018.
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty ImagesHe Does One-Handed Push-ups on the SubwayBut don't get too excited, New York sports fans: Giannis is signed with the Bucks through 2021.