Giannis Antetokounmpo had an incredible chase-down block that looked almost identical to LeBron James’ most famous play

Giannis Antetokounmpo prepares to block Mikal Bridges.
Giannis Antetokounmpo blocks Mikal Bridges. Chris Coduto/Getty Images
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo had an incredible chase-down block on the Suns in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
  • The play looked nearly identical to LeBron James’ chase-down block in the 2016 Finals.
  • James’ occurred on a bigger stage, but both players were similar in set-up and impressiveness.
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Giannis Antetokounmpo may have closely studied LeBron James and the art of the chase-down block.

During Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday, Antetokounmpo skied and swatted a layup attempt by the Phoenix Suns’ Mikal Bridges off the glass to save a basket.

It was an incredible display of effort and athleticism from Antetokounmpo, who was returning from a hyper-extended knee for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was questionable for Game 1, but suited up after missing the previous two games of the playoffs.

Here’s the play:

-NBA (@NBA) July 7, 2021

Another look:

-NBA (@NBA) July 7, 2021

It likely looked familiar to NBA fans. The play was almost identical to James’ now-legendary chase-down block of Andre Iguodala in the final minutes of Game 7 of the 2016 Finals. Even ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy noted the similarities on Tuesday.

  • Both were chase-down blocks, of course.
  • Both blocks occurred on the right side of the rim, with the shot-blocker coming across the basket from the left side to swat the ball.
  • In both plays, the player attempting the layup was slowed down by just a fraction of a second by a defender contesting the shot. That small hesitation allowed time for the block.
Giannis Antetokounmpo's block side-by-side with LeBron James'
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s chase-down block looked like LeBron James’ in the 2016 Finals. via ABC/NBA; via NBA/YouTube

Of course, James’ block happened on a bigger stage, but both were amazing showcases of will and NBA players’ incredible athleticism.