NEW YORK — Giannis Antetokounmpo wanted this one.
As he tallied numbers and escalated names in the respective Milwaukee Bucks and NBA recorded histories in recent seasons, he allowed himself to briefly acknowledge the moment before moving past it. But – but – never too far in advance. It’s a mental tightrope that he’s become comfortable on.
This one, however, was different.
“It’s cool,” he admitted a few games before breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s franchise record on Thursday night on a three-point pullback over Brooklyn center Andre Drummond with 18 seconds left in the fourth. quarter. The shot tied the score, 110-110.
He then hit both game-winning free throws in a 120-119 overtime win at Barclays Center.
“How many points 14,000 and something? Ohhh! I’m a bucket! I’m a bucket! It’s fun, you know?
So much so that he had a scene in his head of how he wanted it to happen.
“I hope they stop the game so I can get the ball back,” he told the Journal Sentinel with a smile. “They probably won’t. It’s like that. I want it to be like, you know when Kobe passed MJ? The whole game stopped and he took the ball and he was like…”
He raised his hand high, holding an imaginary ball, and he slowly turned to recognize an imaginary crowd.
“I want to do the same.”
Unfortunately, the game ops team in Brooklyn didn’t mark that moment for him and the ball remained in play.
Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan for third on the NBA’s all-time scorers list on the road to Minnesota on Dec. 14, 2014 with a pair of free throws. During the stoppage, then-Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor then passed the ball to Bryant, who held it in the air for the crowd before returning it to the Lakers bench.
It took Antetokounmpo 652 games over nine seasons to surpass Abdul-Jabbar’s mark of 14,211, set in 467 games over six seasons from 1969 to 1975. Three-point shooting only entered the NBA in 1979, so all of Abdul-Jabbar’s points came via two-point field goals (5,902) and free throws (2,407).
“Damn, this is crazy,” said Bucks center Brook Lopez, who entered the league in 2008 as a post-oriented center. He attempted just 7 three-pointers in his first six years scoring 6,168 of his franchise-record point total with the Nets.
He couldn’t collect his thoughts anymore as he continued to laugh at Abdul-Jabbar’s total.
“That’s so crazy. There was no three-point line. I mean…that’s…wow. 14,000 in six? That’s crazy. That’s…you can’t believe those numbers It’s wild.
Antetokounmpo eclipsed the mark in his ninth year with his 14th basket of the night. After a 44-point effort, he had 4,704 two-point field goals, 445 three-pointers and 3,473 free throws and sits at 14,216 points.
Both men were 27 when they set the records.
“Bravo and congratulations to Giannis because when all of that is said and done, is there such a thing as 1A and 1B in terms of the greatest players in franchise history? And I think that’s how he will be perceived,” said Hall of Famer Bob Dandridge, who played his first six seasons with Abdul-Jabbar. “Neither has been more important in the history of the ball club. Unless Giannis can slip in there and win one or two more championships, then he might surface above Kareem!”
“We’ll see. But Giannis has certainly done the organization a lot of credit.
Jon McGlocklin also played with Abdul-Jabbar and was the team’s television analyst until 2017.
“It’s a remarkable story that I don’t think I’ll ever have – I’ve been associated with the NBA for 56 years – and I played against and with the greats in the early 60s, mid-60s, 1960s. 70, and who came along even close to this story?” said McGlocklin, his voice reaching a high pitch of disbelief. “It came out of left field and became what it has become. not name someone who was such a surprise and grew up in the NBA. Because most of the greats came along, even back then, with great college credentials. But not Giannis. That’s a remarkable story.
Bucks star Khris Middleton, who has been there every step — and every point — along the way with Antetokounmpo, agreed.
“That’s what makes it even better – he worked for it all,” he told the Journal Sentinel. “He believed in his skills. He believed in himself. He believed how great he could be and he worked for it. That’s the whole story. That’s what makes his story even better. A lot of people – I wouldn’t necessarily say he was ruled out – but didn’t believe in the potential he actually had.
Lopez is the only other member of the Bucks to hold a franchise scoring record, having scored 10,444 points in nine seasons with the Nets. He set the mark in 2017 while also on the road in Boston.
“For me, it was crazy,” Lopez recalled to the Journal Sentinel. “I grew up as a fan of the league and all that stuff and to be a scoring leader for one of those teams is pretty crazy – one of the 30 teams. It’s rarefied air. It was a great honor for me, it made me appreciate all the players I played with, the coaches who helped me get to where I was to put me in those positions to be successful.
“For Giannis to be in the position he is in, with this franchise and Kareem’s record – it’s really amazing. It speaks to the player he is.