Kobe Bryant’s spirit still lives on the hardwood.
Before his untimely death in a helicopter crash in January of 2020, Bryant was retired but made sure he was available to some of the young, budding talent in the NBA. He also made sure to give props to the 20-somethings when they accomplished big feats– and that includes Giannis Antetokounmpo.
In Kobe fashion, Antetokounmpo not only led his team to an NBA championship but stepped up to the challenge by scoring 50 points in a Game 6. The Greek Freak celebrated by acknowledging a challenge that the late great Hall Of Famer gave back in August 2017. Antetokounmpo said he was waiting for his challenge, so Kobe simply responded on Twitter, saying, “MVP.”
In 2019 Antetokounmpo was awarded the NBA’s Most Valuable player, so Bryant gave him an even bigger challenge: to win a ring.
“My man….M.V.P. Greatness. Next up: Championship. #MambaMentality,” he tweeted.
Well, now that the 26-year-old is bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy to Milwaukee for the first time since 1971, he recalled the Twitter conversation after the championship game.
“I didn’t think he was going to respond to me. But when he did, he made me believe. I’m like, ‘Kobe Bryant thinks I can do this? I can play at a high level and lead my team and win MVP?’ I had to do it,” he said while he clutched both trophies.“I had to work hard. And not necessarily not to let him down. I had to work hard because people believed that I could do it, and that’s the thing.”
The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 105-98 after initially losing the first two games in the series. Antetokounmpo –with the help of Khris Middleton– would then go on a streak to win the next four games.
Twitter saluted the Bucks for the big win:
Twitter Reacts To Milwaukee Bucks Winning Championship
2 of 20
I dead ass wanna hear what Shaq gotta say bc this the big man performance he been waiting on for 20 years 😭😭😭😭— 🎅🏿America Is Musty🎅🏿 (@DragonflyJonez) July 21, 2021
3 of 20
Devin Booker has to fly on a private flight to Tokyo on Friday with just Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. He is in hell smh— 500 🏎 (@Kameron_Hay) July 21, 2021
4 of 20
Shoutout to Giannis but Malika Andrews looking generational right now.— Ahmed/Lakers stink🇸🇴 (@big_business_) July 21, 2021
6 of 20
Good morning. pic.twitter.com/wb4gqM78f7— 🎅🏿America Is Musty🎅🏿 (@DragonflyJonez) July 21, 2021
7.7 of 20
8 of 20
woke up and immediately checked to make sure giannis really did what i watched him do last night lol that’s how good giannis was these finals he jumped up to the Nah There’s No Way I’m Remembering That Correctly level— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) July 21, 2021
9 of 20
Giannis practiced free throws by making his coaches and girlfriend (while carrying his baby) run every time he missed. "Seeing people pay for his mistakes was torture for him."— StatMuse (@statmuse) July 21, 2021
He shot 17-19 from the line to win his first championship. pic.twitter.com/ax6w44GTAe
10 of 20
How many of these will Giannis have when he retires? pic.twitter.com/6jx9lPu0Ch— Denver ⚡️ (@DenverStruck_) July 21, 2021
11 of 20
Giannis did it.— JustAnotherNBAFan™ (@AnotherNBAFan) July 21, 2021
Lebron returned to do it.
KD never did it. pic.twitter.com/qYEUmIluE4
12 of 20
Congrats to Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks organization! What a legendary performance! So glad to see a player and a franchise committed to each other fulfill a dream— David Robinson (@DavidtheAdmiral) July 21, 2021
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14 of 20
Giannis Antetokounmpo celebrating his NBA championship to Pop Smoke’s music 💫pic.twitter.com/tS7wW5AgKw— XXL Magazine (@XXL) July 21, 2021
15 of 20
Drake waking up his ghost writers to find words that rhyme with Giannis Antetokounmpo pic.twitter.com/C6MrtHkYFr— Jimmy (@jimmy_koski) July 21, 2021
16 of 20
Chris Paul said he expected Giannis to miss freethrows and then hit bare rim on every clutch freethrow. pic.twitter.com/WOlyehH9Xt— cpoverrated (@cp0verrated) July 21, 2021
17 of 20
Aye! Enjoyed watching greatness out there tonight. GREATNESS! @Giannis_An34 congrats bro— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) July 21, 2021
Giannis Antetokounmpo Credits Kobe Bryant’s “Challenge” For Bucks Winning NBA Championship was originally published on cassiuslife.com