At his media availability ahead of the 2020 All-Star Game, Giannis Antetokounmpo talked about how much Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant meant to him.
"Growing up, he was my idol," Antetokounmpo said of Bryant. "Not just my idol, probably the whole generation's idol. For us, he was the Michael Jordan of our generation.
"He was one of those guys that gave back to the game so much, gave back to the players. A lot of people when they're so great, they don't do that. There was a quote that said that talent is worthless if you're not willing to share it. He was one of those guys that was sharing his talent with us and he's going to be definitely missed."
Bryant was among the nine people who passed away in a tragic helicopter accident on Jan 26, 2020. He played with the Lakers for 20 seasons, earning 18 All-Star selections, five NBA championships, two Finals MVP awards and one regular-season MVP award, to name a few accolades in his soon-to-be Hall of Fame career.
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As Antetokounmpo said, Bryant's presence was still felt around the league even after he retired in 2016. In 2017, for example, Bryant issued challenges to multiple NBA players, one of those players being Antetokounmpo.
His challenge to the Bucks superstar? "MVP."
Bryant then issued another challenge to Antetokounmpo after he won MVP last season.
My man....M.V.P. Greatness. 🙌🏾💪🏾 Next up: Championship. #MambaMentality https://t.co/dhZTFI1Aam- Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) June 25, 2019
The NBA will honour Bryant in the 2020 All-Star Game with a new format that will add 24 points - the 24 representing his jersey number for the final 10 seasons of his NBA career - to the leading team's cumulative score through three quarters to determine the "Final Target Score." The entire fourth quarter will be commercial-free for the first time ever.
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