LOS ANGELES, USA – Giannis Antetokounmpo paid tribute to LeBron James' "insane" career on Wednesday, December 18, as he prepared to face the NBA icon in an eagerly-anticipated clash between the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers.
Antetokounmpo has been in blistering form for the Bucks this season, averaging 31.7 points per game while propelling Milwaukee to the top of the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 24 wins and 4 losses.
But the 25-year-old reigning NBA MVP admitted on Wednesday he was in awe of Lakers star James, who is averaging 25.9 points and a league-leading 10.6 assists per game in what is his 17th season.
"It's insane to see what he's is able to do, but he's LeBron James, he's different," Antetokounmpo said. "He's an alien. You expect it from him, but it's crazy."
Antetokounmpo said he uses the 34-year-old James as an inspiration for his own playing career.
"Obviously, for me, that's one of my goals to be able to play at a high level for the next 10 years. But he's about to turn 35 this month and he's moving like that, playing like that, and just playing smart," Antetokounmpo said.
"The Lakers are one of the best teams in the league. It's going to be a test for us." - Giannis on tomorrow's @NBAonTNT showdown and more: pic.twitter.com/c3kWnF99Ek — Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 18, 2019
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer meanwhile said he had seen no sign of James's talent diminishing as he prepared his team for Thursday's showdown against the Western Conference leaders.
"He just keeps doing it year after year after year," Budenholzer told reporters. "I'm very impressed. It's great to be a part of what he's done for this league for so long. You just don't see the drop off.
"What James has done in our league is phenomenal. He's just a very, very special player, so anytime you get to play against him – and now Anthony Davis is very similar and they've got great fits, great players around them.
"The thing we often talk about when you play a really good team is how you get tested and how you learn more about yourself. That's the way I look at it and we're excited about the opportunity." – Rappler.com