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.