Last night, Giannis Antetokounmpo won his first NBA championship, completing a challenge issued to him two years ago by the late Kobe Bryant.
In fact, in the wake of Giannis’ all-time great closeout performance and the Milwaukee Bucks’ first NBA title in 50 years, two of Kobe’s old tweets to the “Greek Freak” are going viral. The first one was from August 2017, when Kobe responded to Giannis asking him for a challenge.
The “Black Mamba” urged him to go win MVP, which Giannis eventually did twice. After his first MVP award in 2019, Kobe assigned another task to the young superstar.
“My man….MVP. Greatness. Next up: Championship #MambaMentality,” he tweeted on June 24, 2019.
Giannis passed both of Kobe’s tests 🤝
Challenge completed ✅ pic.twitter.com/mel90HNMnm
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 21, 2021
After last night’s game, Giannis spoke candidly about the impact Kobe’s challenges had on him.
“Kobe Bryant thinks I can do this, I can play at a higher level and lead my team and win MVP. I had to do it,” Giannis said.
“Kobe Bryant thinks I can do this… I had to do it.”
Giannis on Kobe challenging him to win MVP back in 2017, and then to win an NBA Championship in 2019. pic.twitter.com/MVXbuuTIah
— NBA (@NBA) July 21, 2021
It’s hard not to admire Giannis’ humbleness and earnestness.
There’s no right or wrong way to go about pursuing an NBA championship–some guys try to stay loyal to the teams that drafted them, while others look elsewhere–but it is special to see how things worked out for Milwaukee and its homegrown superstar.