Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant have flocked to visiting arenas in droves to see the future Hall-of-Famer's farewell tour this season, but Bryant has been around long enough that it's not just fans that grew up idolizing him. Some players who are now Kobe's contemporaries were raised as fans of his as well, which apparently extends internationally as well as within the United States.
In very few places has this been more evident than after the Los Angeles Lakers loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night. The game was Bryant's final appearance in Milwaukee, and Bucks' star Giannis Antetokounmpo, better known as "the Greek Freak" for his Greek heritage, crazy athleticism, and hard to pronounce last name, came to the arena with more goals in mind than getting a win. As Antetokounmpo explained in a Greek interview later translated by Reddit user TheBoyWhoCriedShark, his mother had one extra demand for him on the night (h/t Ananth Pandian):
You went rushing out of the locker rooms. You took your mother , father and brothers to the Laker's Locker Room, coach Kidd was also there, and wanted to talk to Kobe. What happened there ?
My mother was driving me crazy. she wanted a photo. She already told me a week ago: "If I don't get a photo with Kobe, I will kick your a**". I told her not to worry". She sent me 15 SMS. After the end of the match I found her SMS from half time and after then end of the match ! I told myself , she has to take the picture ! I took them to the locker room we found Kobe and took the picture. He (Kobe) is a great guy.
What did your mother tell Kobe?
She said thank you. She was wearing his Jersey, it is the first time she wasn't wearing mine !
That's right, Antetokounmpo's mother not only wore Kobe's jersey to the game instead of her own son's, but also threatened to beat him up if she didn't get to take a photo with Bryant. Giannis' mom might be a bigger Kobe fan than most of the readers of this site.
Giannis also detailed Kobe's advice to him as wells as how much the moment meant to he and his family, and the short interview is worth a read in full.
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