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Milwaukee Bucks star required. Giannis Antetokounmpo wins NBA MVP Award

June 27, 2019

Giannis Antetokounmpo gave an emotional speech accepting the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award.

During the 2013 NBA draft, analyst Fran Fraschilla introduced Giannis Antetokounmpo, a raw and relatively unknown 18-yearold from Greece, as the evening’s “most mysterious” prospect. Six years later, the Milwaukee Bucks forward earned a significantly more prestigious superlative: Most Valuable Player (MVP).

The NBA announced Monday, June 24, 2019, that Antetokounmpo had claimed MVP honors by beating out Houston Rockets’ guard James Harden and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George. The league made the announcement at its annual awards show, held at the Barker Hangar.

Antetokounmpo, 24, averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists — all career highs — while leading Milwaukee to a league-best 60 regular season wins. His first MVP award marked another step in a steady ascent for the three-time all-star, who was named first-team all-NBA and all-defense last month. Antetokounmpo became the first Bucks player to be named MVP since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1973-74, and he dedicated the honor to his family and his father, Charles, who died in 2017.

Antetokounmpo’s step-by-step advance continued from there: He became a full-time starter in 2014-15, a lead scoring option in 2015-16, the NBA’s most improved player in 2016-17 and a clear-cut franchise player in 2017-18. This season, his first under Coach Mike Budenholzer, Antetokounmpo led the Eastern Conference in all-star votes, guided the Bucks to their most regular season victories since 1980-81 and delivered the franchise’s first playoff series win since 2001.

“I’m extremely blessed,” Antetokounmpo said. “I want to thank my teammates. It takes more than one person to win 60 games. I want to thank the coaching staff, front office and ownership for believing in me when I was 18 years old back in Greece. They allowed me to lead this team, trusted me.”

If Antetokounmpo began that journey as a shy and foul-happy teenager who famously had never tasted a smoothie, he has become a fearsome and versatile presence who dunks like Shaquille O’Neal, runs the break like LeBron James and leads quietly like Tim Duncan.

“We are beyond proud of Giannis,” Bucks General Manager Jon Horst said in a statement. “Giannis propelled the Bucks to great heights last season with his leadership, drive and unselfish play. His grace on and off the court has made him one of the most admired players in the world.”

The sixth-year pro was the central force of Milwaukee’s third-ranked offense, driving hard to the basket to set up his teammates’ outside shots, and the linchpin of its top-ranked defense. Antetokounmpo was also one of three finalists for defensive player of the year, an award claimed by Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.