The 23-year-old Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 28.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game, has garnered comparisons to Johnson due to his size and versatility.
Magic’s response, per ESPN:
Oh yeah. With his ball-handling skills and his passing ability. He plays above the rim I never could do that. But in his understanding of the game, his basketball IQ, his creativity of shots for his teammates. That’s where we [have the] same thing. Can bring it down, make a pass, make a play. I’m just happy he’s starting in the All-Star game because he deserves that. 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.
Johnson went on to rave further about Giannis’ unique athleticism and knowledge of the game:
He’s special. A man that can handle the basketball like he can and be a great — he’s probably the greatest athlete we have in the league today. And then his understanding, his basketball IQ is off the chart. He not only can score for himself, but also he can pass that basketball like a point guard. So when you think about all the skills that he has, block shots, rebound, can put the ball on the floor, can score, can assist, can make the pass. We’ve never had anybody in the league like him. And also too, he’s like the number one — he’s right up with LeBron, with KD and Steph [Curry] as the entertainer. He’s an entertainer so people will go see him.
After the Bucks (26-22) beat the Bulls, 110-96, on Sunday, Giannis was informed by ESPN about Magic’s praise:
It’s big, man. A compliment like that coming from Magic, that’s huge. We grew up watching Magic, I personally grew up watching Magic making those passes, all that stuff. Just trying to be Magic. There was a stage when I was younger that I was trying to be Magic, I was trying to smile when I was playing, make all those plays. But a compliment like that from Magic, it’s big. But for me, I just got to stay focused, keep working on my game and try to get better.
And in reply to the comment about delivering a title to Milwaukee:
The craziest thing is that I believe that. But it’s even more believable when other guys see that, like Magic. Especially Magic seeing that, that’s big. Because it’s almost like, “OK, he sees that.” So I’m on the right path, I’ve got to to do what I’m doing.