Giannis Antetokounmpo Emulates Kobe Bryant With His Approach to Making Friends on the Court

Published 10/02/2021, 7:30 AM EDT
Jul 20, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) and Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) celebrate after winning game six of the 2021 NBA Finals and the championship against the Phoenix Suns at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The Milwaukee Bucks will return this season trying to defend their throne. Their main weapon will be none other than Giannis Antetokounmpo. While the ‘Greek Freak’ had already solidified himself as a great player, he took it to a whole new level last season; he led the bucks to their first ever NBA championship in half a century.

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While battling for the throne, Giannis suffered a knee injury, and many even wrote him off for the majority of the finals. However, his hard work allowed him to get back on a put on a show in the finals series. He went on to average 35.2 points, 13 rebounds, and a block, breaking records along the way.

This ‘Mamba Mentality’ has allowed him to become such a great player at just 26.

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Jul 20, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) accepts the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award from NBA commissioner Adam Silver after game six of the 2021 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

And like Kobe, his work ethic is always on top. While Giannis is a great teammate, he takes practices seriously. Recently, he revealed that he isn’t in the NBA to make friends.

Giannis Antetokounmpo not here for buddies

The ‘Greek Freak’ is always a goofy presence on the team. There is no doubt that his teammates like the star. But the Freak’s mentality differs from most players in the league; he doesn’t work out with teammates in the off-season and he explained why that’s the case.

Antetokounmpo said, “I don’t train with other players. I don’t wanna be ‘buddy’ with them. If [we’re friends], can I go on the court and use my elbow against them? I can’t. If I love someone, I love him also on the court… I don’t wanna put myself in this position.”

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This goes back to Giannis’ love for his family. He would do anything for the sake of his family because those are the ones he loves and cherishes. Hence, with his approach to practice, having teammates would come in the way of his work. Hence, Giannis Antetokounmpo keeps himself away from practice with fellow teammates.

Jul 14, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns during game four of the 2021 NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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But this doesn’t mean that he won’t support his teammates. Giannis is the first one to praise a fellow player and understands the value they bring. He isn’t against his teammates in any way. However, when it comes to his improvement, having “buddies” would serve as an obstacle.

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Do you think this approach is the reason Giannis returns better every season? Let us know in the comments below.

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Anuj Talwalkar

376 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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