Giannis Antetokounmpo heard all the jokes last year when his little brother, Kostas, won a ring with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Shortly after becoming a champion himself on Tuesday with a 4-2 series victory against the Phoenix Suns, Antetokounmpo was able to joke about how the Lakers title made his family life a little “awkward.”
“A lot of people were joking last year when Kostas won his championship with the Lakers,” he said, per Arash Markazi. “Obviously at the dinner table it was a little bit awkward because he got his ring before me.”
It’s fair to say Giannis was just a little more important to the Bucks than Kostas was to the Lakers during their respective title runs. Giannis, who was named Finals MVP, averaged 29.2 points, 12.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists. Kostas did not see the court for the Lakers during the 2020 postseason.
Antetokounmpo Calls Out Superteams After Win
Giannis Antetokounmpo was long-rumored to be a target of the Lakers, but when he signed a five-year, $228 million supermax extension prior to this season, that went out the window. Pairing Antetokounmpo with LeBron James and Anthony Davis would have given the Lakers a monstrous “big three,” although the Greek Freak made sure to note he’s no fan of superteams. He was proud of winning a title with the team that drafted him, albeit Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday were both All-Star caliber players.
“I was like, this is my city. They trust me. They believe in me. They believe in us,” Antetokounmpo told reporters. “But that’s my stubborn side. It’s easy to go somewhere and go win a championship with somebody else. It’s easy. I could go to a super team and just do my part and win a championship.
“But this is the hard way to do it and this is the way to do it and we did it. f–king did it. We did it, man.”
Antetokounmpo on Kobe Bryant: He Made Me Believe
There was a lot of talk about how late Lakers great Kobe Bryant mentored Suns star Devin Booker on his way up. However, Bryant was also a big believer in Antetokounmpo and his potential.
Bryant tweeted at Antetokounmpo in 2019, writing: “My man…. M.V.P. Greatness. Next up: Championship. #MambaMentality”
Antetokounmpo talked about the interactions he had with Bryant after leading the Bucks franchise to their first title in 50 years.
“It means a lot. It started almost like a joke at first. It was a challenge to players, and I was like, let me just shoot my shot, kind of like, what’s my challenge, and he was like ‘MVP.’ But at first I was, like, joking. I didn’t think he was going to respond to me.
“But when he did, he made me believe. I’m like, Kobe Bryant thinks I can do this and I can play at a high level and build my team and win my MVP? I had to do it. I had to work hard. And to not necessarily let him down. I had to work hard because people believed that I can do it.”
Antetokounmpo will have his hands full if he wants to repeat with the Bucks. The Nets are the title favorite for next season at +225, followed by the Lakers (+450). Milwaukee is listed at +800, per BetMGM.