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Giannis Antetokounmpo says Kobe Bryant is the reason he started playing basketball

Kobe Bryant, Lakers, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo says Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is the reason he started playing basketball as a kid growing up in Greece.

Antetokounmpo and Bryant were close, as the Bucks star trained with Kobe in the offseason:

Last season when Bryant spoke to Frank Isola of The Athletic about Giannis, the basketball legend said the Bucks phenom was taking down notes while he was talking during their summer workout.

The Bucks superstar won the MVP award last season thanks in part to the training he did with Kobe:

“Giannis came to work out with me this summer and he showed up one-and-a-half hours early,” Kobe Bryant told Frank Isola of The Athletic. “We talked for 20 minutes before we worked out and he whips out a notepad. What the … he starts taking down notes. ‘What about the footwork here? What about the coverage here?’ And he’s writing them down. After practice same thing; he sits down, and we talked for like an hour.

“We talked about coverages and defensive match-ups that gave him problems. He just sat there and took notes. And he studied and studied so I’m not surprised at what he’s doing. He just has the mentality of he’s just getting better all the time. He’s just scratching the surface.”

The death of Kobe in a tragic helicopter crash has impacted every player in the NBA. There have already been countless tributes around the league, and expect plenty more to come as teams continue to play in the wake of Bryant’s passing.

The Bucks host the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. Expect Giannis and the Bucks to honor Bryant in any way possible, just as so many others around the league have done already. It’s going to be an emotional week in The Association.