A couple of days ago, in honor of ‘Mamba Day,’ Kobe Bryant took to Twitter to challenge five well-known stars to accomplish different goals. Isaiah Thomas, DeMar DeRozan, Allyson Felix, Richard Sherman, and Kendrick Lamar all received challenges as part of Kobe’s marketing campaign for his new Kobe A.D. shoes.
One person who did not receive a challenge was Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. The reigning Most Improved Player and an All-NBA Second Team player this season, Antetokounmpo tweeted out that he was waiting for his own challenge.
Kobe would eventually oblige as he responded to Antetokounmpo’s tweet, challenging him to win MVP this season:
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) August 27, 2017
That is quite the challenge coming from Kobe, a former MVP himself. There is no doubt that Antetokounmpo has the talent to eventually win the award, though maybe not quite this season. Perhaps this challenge from Kobe is exactly the boost he needs to take his game to another level.
Kobe and Antetokounmpo developed a relationship during Kobe’s final couple seasons in the NBA. The young Antetokounmpo was anxious to soak up knowledge from the future Hall of Famer and recalled being told by Kobe about the amount of work he must put in to be successful. Now Kobe is again pushing him forward.
Last season was easily Antetokounmpo’s best of his young career as he averaged 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.9 blocks per game. In addition to his All-NBA appearance, Antetokounmpo was also an All-Star for the first time in his career.
Antetokounmpo likely won’t be one of the MVP favorites this season as the usual group of players such as Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Stephen Curry will all be there as well. But if he can raise his game yet again, and the Bucks make a leap in the standings, he could find himself right in the thick of the conversation.