Tearful Giannis Antetokounmpo named NBA MVP


LOS ANGELES: Milwaukee Bucks star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the 2018-19 regular season on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).

The 24-year-old from Greece wept as he accepted the honor at the glitzy NBA Awards show broadcast from Santa Monica, California, becoming the youngest MVP since Derrick Rose was the youngest winner ever in 2011.

Antetokounmpo beat out 2018 MVP James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George for the honor.

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Antetokounmpo, in his sixth season with the Bucks, averaged 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds as he led Milwaukee to the best regular-season record in the league with 60 wins and 22 defeats. They reached the Eastern Conference finals where they fell to the Toronto Raptors, who would go on to lift the title.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (right) blocks a shot by Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Miami. AP FILE PHOTO

“I want to thank my team, my teammates,” Antetokounmpo said. “It takes more than one person to win 60 games. Every time I walked to the locker room I saw my teammates were ready to fight, they were ready to go to war with me.”

He also thanked a coaching staff led by head coach Mike Budenholzer, who was named Coach of the Year earlier in the evening.

And he cited the management and ownership of the club “for believing in me when I was 18 years old back in Greece.”

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Antetokounmpo struggled to get the words out as he also gave thanks to his late father, Charles Antetokounmpo, who died in 2017.

“Every day I step on the floor, I always think of my dad,” he said.

Antetokounmpo became the first Bucks player named MVP since 1974 when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – a three-time MVP in Milwaukee – took home the award.

NBA legend Abdul-Jabbar introduced Antetokounmpo as a finalist during the show.

Antetokounmpo also joined Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Tim Duncan (US Virgin Islands), Steve Nash (Canada) and Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) as the only international MVPs.

Doncic top rookie
Slovenia’s Luca Doncic won the Rookie of the Year award after a stellar campaign for the Dallas Mavericks.

Doncic, 20, joined Jason Kidd as the only Mavericks to win Rookie of the Year, Kidd sharing the honor with Detroit’s Grant Hill for the 1994-95 season.

Cameroon’s Pascal Siakam, who starred in his NBA Finals debut for Toronto, was named Most Improved Player.

The Los Angeles Clippers’ Lou Williams won the Sixth Man of the Year award as top reserve for the second straight year and third time in his career.

Defensive Player of the Year went to Utah’s French center Rudi Gobert.

AFP

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The post Tearful Giannis Antetokounmpo named NBA MVP appeared first on The Manila Times Online.



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