Giannis Antetokounmpo: Ranking the NBA’s best international players ever

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 02 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 02 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 06: (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo might be the NBA’s best player now, but how does he compare with fellow international greats from the past?

Through his first seven seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo has gone from entering the NBA as a virtual unknown to ascending to the status of arguably being the best player on the planet.

In its own right, that makes for a stunning journey, but it only becomes even more impressive against the backdrop of Antetokounmpo’s humble overseas beginnings, playing in the lower leagues of Greek professional basketball.

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As a result, Antetokounmpo has now entered the lineage of the greatest international players ever to ply their trade in the NBA.

Considering he’s still only 25 years old, and with plenty of achievements and highlights almost certainly still to come, he still falls behind a number of all-time greats from overseas on that front, but the margins are not that significant in many cases.

If Antetokounmpo ends up officially repeating as MVP in the months ahead, that will certainly vault him up into a different category, while getting his hands on a championship ring could even elevate him further beyond that. Also worth mentioning in that context is the need for Antetokounmpo to leave his mark on an international tournament to fully round out his reputation in terms of the totality of basketball.

With that in mind, it’s worth taking a closer look at the kind of company that Giannis now keeps in terms of being one of the greatest international players ever to suit up in the NBA, and the players he’ll have every chance of passing to become the best international player of all-time by the time the curtain falls on his career.

With apologies and honorable mentions to Dominique Wilkins, Yao Ming, Dikembe Mutombo, Patrick Ewing, and Tony Parker, let’s take a closer look at the hallowed company that Antetokounmpo could yet work his way to the forefront of.