Although Kobe Bryant has made it clear he doesn’t have a desire to return to the NBA in any capacity, he’s made himself available to the Los Angeles Lakers organization, its players, and others in the league.
Kyle Kuzma notably took Bryant up on his standing offer, as the rookie forward and five-time champion went to dinner during the season. And if Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo has his way, he’ll share a court with the retired Lakers legend.
In February, Antetokounmpo expressed a desire to work out with and learn from Bryant. After the Bucks were eliminated from the first round of the NBA Playoffs, he restated that interest, via the team’s Twitter account:
“I would love to work with Kobe. Hopefully I will get in touch with Kobe and get a few days just to work on my footwork, my mentality. What he thinks I could do better. Watch some clips with him, some plays with him. That would be good. If I have the opportunity to do that, that’d be a really great thing I think is going to help me get to the next level.”
Toward the end of the regular season, Bryant focused on Antetokounmpo and the progress he’s made in an episode of his “Musecage” series for ESPN.
The two-time All-Star averaged 26.9 points, 10 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.4 blocks per game this season. He fell shy of matching averages in points, rebounds and blocks during the playoffs but did increase assists to 6.3 during the seven-game series against the Boston Celtics.
Antetokounmpo and the Lakers became intertwined this season when president of basketball operations Magic Johnson praised the 23-year-old and predicted he would bring a championship to Milwaukee. Johnson’s comments led to the Lakers again being fined by the league for tampering.