As the Bucks win the NBA title, Giannis Antetokounmpo rises to the challenge posed by Kobe Bryant.


As the Bucks win the NBA title, Giannis Antetokounmpo rises to the challenge posed by Kobe Bryant.

The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night to end a 50-year drought for an NBA championship, and the late Kobe Bryant may deserve some of the credit.

The Bucks defeated the Suns 105-98 in Game 6 in front of a loud crowd at Fiserv Forum, and Giannis Antetokounmpo put on a show to remember.

Milwaukee had not won a title since 1971. After squandering a two-game lead in the NBA Finals, Phoenix’s hunt for a first title will go at least another 12 months.

Antetokounmpo won the NBA Finals MVP title after scoring 50 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, his 50 points tied Bob Pettit of the St. Louis Hawks for the most in a closeout game of the NBA Playoffs, which he set against the Bolton Celtics in Game 6 of the 1958 finals.

Antetokounmpo is the first player since LeBron James in Game 1 of the 2018 playoffs to score at least 50 points in a finals game.

During the finals, the “Greek Freak” appeared like a man on a mission, as the Bucks rallied from two setbacks to win four straight games. Since the Bucks selected him with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, he has appeared like a man on a mission, and he took some of his inspiration from Bryant.

Following his retirement in 2016, the Los Angeles Lakers legend—who died in a helicopter crash in January 2020 with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and eight other people—posted a list of personal challenges for the future generation of NBA athletes on Twitter.

However, Antetokounmpo was left off of Bryant’s list, causing the Bucks star to issue a challenge via Twitter.

On August 24, 2017, he tweeted, “Still waiting for my challenge @kobebryant.”

Bryant’s response came three days later, crisp and devoid of ambiguity.

“MVP,” he wrote on Twitter.


August 27, 2017 — Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant)

Antetokounmpo rose to the occasion, winning the MVP award in 2018-19 and retaining it the following season, making him only the 12th player in NBA history to do so. Following in the footsteps of the Greeks. This is a condensed version of the information.


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