Giannis Antetokounmpo won his first NBA championship last night, and in the words of the man himself, he did it the hard way. He believed in the Milwaukee Bucks, proved as much by signing a huge deal to stick around instead of forcing a trade in the final year of his deal or walking after it expired, and it paid off in the biggest way possible.
Giannis said as much in his postgame presser after Game 6 last night. He was passionate about the path he took and used the "superteam" buzzword to hammer his point home.
It's a great moment for all sorts of reasons. Stephen Jackson, though, read these comments differently. He went on First Things First this morning to become the first talking head of the day to criticize the Finals MVP, saying Giannis "diminished" his teammates by stating he wasn't a part of a superteam.
Come on, man. The Bucks are a great team. They may even be super at times. It obviously is not the same thing as what we collectively accept to be a superteam in today's NBA.
Giannis is the only top-10 player on the Bucks. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday were both irreplaceable during this playoff run and nobody is doubting their respective abilities to win games anymore. But part of the reason they played so well is because their talents mesh so perfectly with Giannis. A superteam wins games because the star power is overwhelming. The Bucks are great for a variety of reasons, but not because they have more dominant players than the other team. It's just disingenuous by Jackson to twist the definition of what a superteam is to create controversy when there's nothing there.
Not that Holiday or Middleton care. They know Giannis didn't go up to the podium after winning that elusive ring and trash their abilities. They, like everyone except for Jackson, know a superteam when they see one. The Bucks had to battle through a version of a superteam to even get here.
I will say that my money would not have been on Stephen Jackson to be the first credible personality to criticize Giannis less than 12 hours after reaching the mountaintop. But that's the beauty of the game. You never know what you're going to get.