It’s safe to say the two most actively discussed Milwaukee Bucks basketball players are Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Certainly this is the case on the internet, where Giannis was just named to Grantland’s Triangle All-Stars for the second straight year and Parker was voted as the player most likely to win rookie of the year by NBA general managers, but I feel safe assuming these two generate the majority of Bucks conversation offline too. If you’ve been in a bar of late and someone’s brought up the Milwaukee Bucks and someone else has actually actively indulged in this conversation, it’s probably been about how these two will impact the team going forward. They are the promise of tomorrow, being sold today.
But which one is actually more popular? The meter’s fluctuated a bit of late, as Giannis has experimented with point guarding and Jabari has dunked the Bucks into victory, but it seems like for now, Parker is the safer bet in America. Here’s a chart from Google indicating which “topic”, with each player serving as the topic, is generating more interest:
Giannis owned the latter part of the summer, which likely owes to his participation in the World Cup in Europe. But as soon as training camp started, Parker, the number two pick, returned to the forefront of America’ Bucks mind. Around the world though, it isn’t so simple.
Around the world Giannis held a much tighter grip for a larger period of time on the attention of those perusing Google’s expansive landscape. This probably speaks to the non-US interest in the World Cup and Giannis’s appeal outside of the country as an international player. Obviously he’s huge in Greece, but he seems to have been much bigger than Parker late this summer in Europe as a whole as well.
Of course, the further back we look, the more evident Jabari’s overall popularity lead is. A quick Google search of the terms “jabari parker” and “giannis antetokounmpo” return 1.9 million and 591 thousand results respectively, as you’d expect when comparing an American phenom since his younger days and a player whose American exposure prior to his NBA debut was via grainy video. So Jabari’s general lead makes sense. Thanks to his previously high profile, as summer ended and the season started, Paker took center stage. For the time being, he’s Milwaukee’s biggest star. He’s the draw nationally and he’s the guy most people are talking about. He hasn’t become an internet darling just yet and his Tweets haven’t inspired excessive responses across the basketball blogosphere, but he’s the guy fans at home will be tuning into see and searching for more information on.
As he does on the court with his long strides when on a mission to embarrass an opponent with a chase down block, Giannis has gained ground on Jabari fast. He’s still got some work to do, but fortunately for him, there’s plenty of time to do it.