After not putting out a Brownie Points for nearly four months, I found myself completely at a loss for what to write about this week. In case you’re new this year or forgot during my hiatus, I am the Brownie Points god and I giveth Brownie Points to those who are worthy or taketh Brownie Points away from those who are not.
Yet, this time, I struggled to find somebody or something good enough to give points to or bad enough to deduct points.
I considered giving points to the Chicago Bulls for firing their coach — the worst coach in the league, I might add — and then moving up in the NBA lottery, but neither of those are exactly praiseworthy.
I also thought about giving points to the Chicago Sky — who, for those unaware, are dominating the WNBA’s eastern conference behind the wizardry of point guard Courtney Vandersloot — but I’ve been burned by strong regular season teams who massively disappoint in the playoffs (see: every Bulls and Chicago Bears team of my lifetime).
Then, it hit me: Giannis. If you know me, you know I have an immense love for the man who has been my laptop background for years and is dubbed the “Greek Freak.”
If you’re somehow unaware of maybe the greatest physical specimen in human history, let me quickly catch you up. Giannis Antetokounmpo stands at a hulking 6-foot-11, is most likely on his way to back-to-back NBA MVP awards and literally jumps over people in an NBA game. Currently, Antetokounmpo is the best player on the team with the best record in the NBA with the first round of the playoffs underway.
Now, before the bandwagon allegations start, let me just say that my love for Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks started when I went to my first Bucks game in April 2014 — his rookie season. Since then, I’ve won a free pizza at a bowling alley for being able to spell “Antetokounmpo,” I’ve gotten the honor to meet him after a game last season and I’ve watched the Bucks steadily improve while attending a handful of games over the past few years.
So, why write about Antetokounmpo now? Well, this story starts with a little bit of adversity. As I mentioned, the Bucks entered the NBA Playoffs with the best record in the league — 56-17 — but somehow lost their first game to the Orlando Magic. The Magic entered with a horrendous 33-40 record. In addition to having the worst record of any playoff team, the Magic limped into the postseason with multiple key rotational players sitting out hurt.
You might be asking, ‘What the heck happened?’ And that’s a very fair question. The Magic’s hot shooting paired with an underwhelming performance from Khris Middleton — the Bucks’ Robin to Giannis’ Batman — and other rotational players was the perfect storm for a shocking upset.
So, why is this a column about the wonder of Antetokounmpo rather than the panic caused by this loss? Well, the Bucks have rattled off two solid wins following the series’ opener and Antetokounmpo is averaging 31.3 points over the four games against the Magic.
But it goes beyond just that. It’s not the fact that the Bucks are beating the Magic. They should be beating the Magic. It’s not that the Greek Freak is scoring over 30 points per game. Antetokounmpo averaged 29.5 points per game during the regular season. It’s the way Antetokounmpo is doing it that deserves a Brownie Point.
There are very few things in the NBA more terrifying than Giannis Antetokounmpo barreling down the lane. But there are very few things in the world more terrifying than Giannis Antetokounmpo barreling down the lane when he’s pissed off and has a chip on his shoulder.
This is quite possibly the most emphatic dunk I’ve ever seen, and it’s far from the only time he’s shown a lot of emotion so far in the playoffs. And while the Bucks have struggled so far in the NBA Bubble, it’s plays like these that keep me from losing hope that the Bucks are legitimate contenders.
Could I have a false sense of hope? Sure. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a Loyola Phoenix Sports Editor wrote a completely wrong column (see: basically every column Nick Schultz ever wrote). Am I biased? Oh yes, certainly. But am I ready for Milwaukee’s first NBA title since 1971? 100 percent.