Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was up until the wee hours Wednesday night asking his Twitter followers, “What was your biggest takeaway from the Jordan Documentary thus far?”
After receiving around 4,000 comments on the post, the Milwaukee Bucks superstar shared his response on Friday morning.
“My MJ takeaway from the Last Dance documentary is that chasing greatness is a life mission,” he tweeted.
Antetokounmpo hasn’t been shy in his pursuit of greatness. In fact, during Milwaukee’s Nov. 18 win at Chicago, with Jordan’s No. 23 and Scottie Pippen’s 33 dangling from the rafters of the United Center, he told ESPN: “I definitely want to be one of the best players to ever play.
“I try to lock in and focus on what I’ve got to do. But yeah, previous years, like when I saw No. 23 — and not just 23, when I saw 33 — that was a guy I used to talk to a lot, Scottie,” Antetokounmpo said. “It definitely motivated me. [Chicago is] a great basketball city. It’s a city that Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen played in, so I had that extra juice in me.”
Although the Bucks aren’t hosting virtual team watch parties for the “Last Dance” docuseries, guys are certainly tuned in, as they were on pace to make franchise history as the NBA’s top-ranked team before the suspension. Milwaukee guard George Hill said he puts his phone on “do not disturb” during the Sunday time slot when the documentary is playing on ESPN.
“I grew up down the street from there in Indianapolis, and that was kind of our big rival during those days, the Pacers-Bulls rivals,” Hill said. “I was a huge Jordan fan, and I think that was one of the reasons, outside of Allen Iverson, that I wanted to play this game. I wanted to be competitive and have that drive he did and the way he carried himself and the basketball player he was, I think as a kid, with our generation, that’s who we looked up to on the court.”
Marvin Williams spent six seasons with the Jordan-owned Charlotte Hornets before signing with the Bucks in February. Williams is being exposed to a different side of Jordan — Jordan the player — through the film.
“Obviously, to know him personally, he’s been very different as an owner than he was as a player,” Williams said. “He’ll tell you that himself. He’s much more laid-back now, I would say, than he was when he was a player, but it’s been fun to watch.”
At age 25, Antetokounmpo is entering his prime and seemingly in the running to win a second straight MVP award. Milwaukee GM Jon Horst is keeping that in mind while studying Jordan’s career. Jordan didn’t win his first title until age 28, during the 1990-91 campaign.
Antetokounmpo wasn’t even born until Dec. 6, 1994.
“You look at championship teams, and they have an average age of like close to 30, and then they have an average age of like 26, 27, 28 when they get to a conference finals,” Horst said. “You have guys like Michael Jordan, who I don’t think actually ended up getting to the NBA Finals until he was  years old. So I think for our guys, for our organization and for fans in general just to watch kind of the evolution of a championship organization — not just a single championship year or a team that had a great run, but a team that figures out how to become great and then sustains it over a long period of time and does some really special things. I think it’s really an interesting story for people to watch.”
The Bucks currently hold an NBA-best 53-12 record. Through 65 games of Jordan’s 1997-98 championship team, the Bulls were 48-17.
The Bucks have won a league-high 36 games by double figures and 19 games by at least 20. Despite playing only 65 games, that’s already more games than the Bulls won by double figures (34) or 20-plus points (10), per ESPN Stats & Information research. It was a different era, but the Bulls ranked just 17th in made 3-pointers per game by knocking down 3.8 per game. That’s less than Khris Middleton and Kyle Korver make combined (4.1). The Bucks rank fifth by making 13.7 per game, but unlike the Bulls, Milwaukee hasn’t experienced a championship celebration since 1971.
“We’re not any different from a handful of teams in the NBA who feel like we can compete for a championship and are in that grouping of teams that want to be the last team standing,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “So you can always watch and learn from the best and the greatest in our sport, and certainly the Bulls were very special. But those teams that have won championships, multiple championships, they’ve really established themselves in that sense, and right now in our league, in our organization, we’re trying to be that team for this season and going forward, but we have a mentality that we really haven’t done anything and that we want to be very hungry. We want to be very humble and really just have a lot of work to be done. So hopefully there’s a good balance for us when we see and watch a great team like that.”