Kobe Bryant has issued another one of his suddenly trademark challenges. This one goes to Giannis Antetokounmpo, and it’s no minor endeavor.
The Mamba wants him to win the MVP award:
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) August 27, 2017
If Antetokounmpo is intimidated, he has only himself to blame. He asked for this:
Still waiting for my challenge.. @kobebryant
— GiannisAntetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) August 24, 2017
Bryant has been issuing challenges to NBA stars—including Isaiah Thomas and DeMar DeRozan—since posting, then deleting, a picture of his dad bod back in early August. This is a good way, no doubt, for him to keep the competitive juices flowing.
Meanwhile, for Antetokounmpo, the request, or demand, or challenge, or whatever, isn’t unreasonable. He just wrapped a season in which he led the Milwaukee Bucks in all five major statistical categories. His game is unprecedented, and thus transcendent, and has the profound impact necessary to thrust him into that conversation—particularly if he starts making more threes.
The Bucks, of course, might not be good enough for him to contend with players repping squads set to finish with a top-two or -three playoff seed. But team records may not be as important as they were in years past. Russell Westbrook’s own MVP crusade proved that much. If Antetokounmpo provides an adequate encore to last year’s Most Improved Player efforts, he’ll find himself in the discussion.
And if the Bucks end up snagging the East’s No. 3 seed, or should LeBron James decide he’s not chasing his fifth MVP award, even better.