Lakers News: Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo Doesn’t Like Comparisons To Kobe Bryant But Believes They Have Similar Mindset
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Many current NBA stars mention the late Kobe Bryant as a source of inspiration even though they didn’t get to play against him in his heyday, speaking to the Los Angeles Lakers legend’s greatness.

There was mutual respect between Bryant and the other NBA greats of the early 2000s, including San Antonio Spurs great Tim Duncan and Houston Rockets star Tracy McGrady.

But Kobe’s impact shows even in today’s crop of superstars. Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Phoenix Suns playmaker Devin Booker are just two of the many NBA players frequently preaching their admiration for the five-time NBA champion.

The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo also belongs among the followers of Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality,” even if he doesn’t bring it up often. Antetokounmpo recently told The Athletic’s Eric Nehm he’s been studying Bryant on and off the court throughout his career, but he rarely discusses Bryant’s influence out of respect for the legendary Laker:

“I will never say this, I will never disrespect the name of the great Kobe. I don’t like mentioning him,” Antetokounmpo told The Athletic when asked to compare their mentalities. “I feel like he should be mentioned, should never be forgotten. But I don’t like mentioning his name to bring attention to the conversation that we are about to have. I wasn’t close to him. I wasn’t this with him or that with him. But I would say this, in some areas of his mindset, I think we’re very similar.”

Antetokounmpo added that meeting Bryant was one of his goals for the 2018 All-Star Weekend that took place in Los Angeles. The two then worked out together in the offseason, allowing the Bucks star to experience Kobe’s competitiveness in real life.

“I was like, damn, this guy is different,” he said.

Antetokounmpo faced Bryant in the NBA only two times — both games taking place during Kobe’s farewell tour in 2015-16 — with the two stars each chalking up a win.

The Lakers icon would then encourage the Greek Freak to pursue greatness in his career, challenging him to win the MVP title and the NBA championship — with Antetokounmpo accomplishing both tasks between 2019-2021.

Caron Butler tells hilarious Kobe Bryant story

Many unbelievable Kobe Bryant stories came out after the Lakers legend’s tragic death in January 2020. Recently, Caron Butler revealed how Kobe invited him to “black out” together during Butler’s single season with the Purple and Gold in 2004-05 after signing a $136 million contract extension.

The following day, Butler realized Bryant wanted to go through two exhausting workouts instead of partying to celebrate his new deal.

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