“Giannis Antetokounmpo: The night the legend was born”
“This is just the beginning”
“‘He really could be anything’ — Giannis Antetokounmpo is about to take over the NBA”
Those were just some of the headlines about, if you haven’t figured it out, Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks forward who has lit up the NBA in the first week of a new season with 38.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Breaking down the first week of the season, SI.com noted that “The Freak” is not like others on its list of 12 biggest surprises so far.
“Some of the trends on this list will soon disappear,” reads Rob Mahoney’s piece. “This is real — a fledgling MVP candidacy behind one of basketball’s transcendent talents.”
Keep reading for the basics on this potential MVP’s cardboard after his career-high 44-point game this weekend.
Antetokounmpo has appeared on nearly 1,400 different cards since his debut in Panini America‘s NBA brands and some Upper Deck college/draft picks releases in 2013-14 but he’s not as plentiful as you might think when it comes to certified autographs. He’s got fewer than 300 to his credit and nearly half of them are from his rookie season, meaning those brands are probably the way to go if you’re set on pulling him from a pack yourself. Last season, for example, he appeared on fewer than 20 different certified autographs with the easiest one being limited to only 75 copies — most are much rarer than that.
His rookie-year brands with autographs include Court Kings, Elite, Exquisite Collection, Fleer Retro, Immaculate Collection, Innovation, Crusade, Flawless, Gold Standard, Intrigue, National Treasures, Preferred, Prizm, Panini, Spectra, Titanium, Pinnacle, Prestige, SP Authentic, Select, Timeless Treasures, Totally Certified, UD Black and Ultimate Collection.
Of his nearly 30 Rookie Cards — cards included as part of base sets that year — just five come with ink. That’s Immaculate, Gold Standard, National Treasures, Spectra and National Treasures.
Thanks in part to the international appeal of the NBA — and his Greek following from a season playing for Filathlitikos B.C. — his autographs aren’t cheap, either. His cheapest ink on eBay right now is $125 via a Buy It Now, while his key cards, when in graded slabs, are in new-car territory.
“The Greek Freak” put up 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season and if you throw in his 1.9 blocks per game, that makes him the first player in NBA history to rank in the Top 20 of all of those stats in a single season.
This year’s start? Seems even more potent — should be a fun season to watch.
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