Giannis Recalls Hawks Testing Him with Kobe Bryant Highlights Before 2013 Draft

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo shouts from the bench in the second half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Miami Heat Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

When Giannis Antetokounmpo was preparing for the 2013 NBA draft, he did not envision himself as a ball-dominant player in the mold of Kobe Bryant.

Speaking to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski in a special edition of the Woj PodAntetokounmpo discussed a meeting with the Atlanta Hawks during the draft process that showed his predilection for being a pass-first player.

"[Then-Hawks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson] had his laptop, had these Kobe clips. It was Lakers vs. Atlanta playing, and he told me, 'Come. Let's watch some clips.' I'm like, 'OK. Cool.' And I'm looking. He's like, 'What would you do in this situation?' Pass. 'What would you do in this situation?' Pass. 'What would you do in this situation?' Pass. He's like, 'You like to pass, huh?' Like, yeah! I'm a basketball player. There's five people guarding Kobe. I'm like, 'pass the ball!'"

It didn't take long for Giannis to develop some Kobe-esque tendencies. Antetokounmpo has increased his scoring average in each of his seven NBA seasons, averaging 29.5 points during his second consecutive MVP campaign in 2019-20.

As for the Hawks, they never got a chance to show Antetokounmpo whether they liked his answers. The Bucks selected Giannis at No. 15 in the 2013 draft, two picks ahead of Atlanta.

The Hawks took Dennis Schroder at No. 17.

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