“Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant Never Had NBA Friends”: Giannis Antetokounmpo Revealed His Strategy To Maintain His Edge

Samir Mehdi
|Published March 13, 2023

Giannis Antetokounmpo has established himself as one of the greatest players to have ever stepped foot on NBA hardwood. Him signing his max contract extension in December of 2020 with the Milwaukee Bucks led to the franchise acquiring pieces that allow them to contend for a title immediately. 

Their efforts were fruitful as Giannis brought Milwaukee their first championship in 50 years since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had done so in 1971. After dropping 50 points in Game 6 to put the Suns away in the NBA Finals, ‘The Greek Freak’ cemented his legacy amongst the best of the best. 

Of course, reaching the pantheon of superstars meant he had to take cues from previous legends. And who better to learn from than Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Also read: NBA Analyst Opines Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Block on Ayton in 2021 NBA Finals Was Greatest Block After LeBron Blocking Iguodala

Giannis Antetokounmpo on not having friends in the NBA 

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a far different player from what Kobe and Michael were. So, trying to emulate their styles of play wasn’t going to cut it. Instead, he tried to incorporate their mentality and how they approached the game. 

What Giannis gathered from the two greatest shooting guards in the history of the NBA was that they were loners while in the league. Sure, they had a couple friends scattered around but they kept to themselves and didn’t fraternize with every single player in the NBA, helping them keep their edge over their opponents. 

“Was [Kobe] ever close? Was Kevin Garnett ever close with guys he played against? Or [Jordan]? I think it’s just being competitive. If I know that I’m going to play against them and I’m going to see them in the Playoffs, I try to stay away and not build that relationship,” said Antetokounmpo to Adrian Wojnarowski in an ESPN interview in 2019.

Does Giannis Antetokounmpo have friends? 

Giannis Antetokounmpo refuses to workout with superstars over the summer. Usually, players during the offseason link up at private runs and at open gym to get reps in together. However, this isn’t the case with the 2021 Finals MVP. 

It’s not as though he doesn’t mingle with people in the NBA. He’s always seen in good spirits on All-Star weekend around players such as Luka Doncic, Stephen Curry, Nikola Jokic, and LeBron James. However, when it comes to linking off the court, it’s hard to imagine him doing so with anybody who’s not on the Milwaukee Bucks roster.

Also read: Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Unique Brand of “Drama Free” Leadership is Milwaukee’s Glue, Says Bobby Portis

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About the author

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi is an NBA Editor at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

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