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Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo has Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett mentality, claims Kendrick Perkins

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Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant. It is no surprise, then, other NBA players and peers feel he has the “Mamba Mentality.”

Longtime NBA center Kendrick Perkins joined SportsNet’s “Tim & Sid” show to discuss the Bucks forward’s uniqueness, calling Antetokounmpo an “old school” player with a “Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett kind of mentality.”

Perkins also brought up old comments from Giannis regarding his lack of interest in working out with other superstar players in the offseason.

There is no question Antetokounmpo welcomes a challenge. He had a few verbal spars with Toronto Raptors part-owner and superstar rapper Drake during the Bucks’ win over the Raptors on Tuesday in Canada.

Kobe impacted Giannis’ drive last season, telling him to take hold of the NBA MVP race (via Joshua Simelton of Sporting News):

Speaking to reporters following the Bucks 128-122 win over the 76ers Thursday night, the Greek Freak gave praise to Kobe Bryant for helping him change his mentality heading into this season, with Bryant telling Giannis to go get the MVP award.

“He made me believe it even more,” Giannis said. “You know a guy like Kobe saying ‘Go get the MVP’ made me definitely change my mentality and believe it even more that I can do it.”

Garnett, of course, was famous for his trash-talking and unwillingness to share pleasantries with his opponents. Antetokounmpo employs a similar mean streak on the floor, staring down opponents after big dunks or blocks and bullying his way into the paint when he drives to the cup.

Giannis is the favorite to win his second consecutive MVP this season. He is averaging 29.7 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists while leading the Bucks to the best record in the NBA.

But Perkins believes the mentality is foundational to Antetokounmpo’s success.