Giannis Antetokounmpo is your 2019 NBA MVP, and the Milwaukee Bucks superstar found a way to endear himself even more to the basketball world with an emotional speech worthy of his play on the court.
The Greek Freak won the award after a dominant season in which he led the Milwaukee Bucks to the best regular season record in the NBA while averaging 27.7 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game.
That play was rewarded with the MVP award, making Antetokounmpo, 24, the youngest winner since Derrick Rose in 2011. Antetokounmpo also finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting, showing how much of a force he was in all phases of the game.
While accepting the MVP at the NBA Awards, Antetokounmpo let the tears flow as he recounted all the people who helped get him to this point.
— NBA (@NBA) June 25, 2019
The most powerful moments of the speech came when Antetokounmpo discussed his family, starting with his father, who died of a heart attack in Oct. 2017.
“I want to thank my dad,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, my dad is not here with me, but two years ago, I had to go in my head that I'm going to be the best player in the league, that I'm going to do whatever it takes to help my team win and that I'm going to win the MVP.
“Every day that I step on the floor I always think about my dad and that motivates me and it pushed me to play hard and move forward even when my body's sore, even when I don't feel like playing, I always go and show up and I’m always going to do the right thing."
Antetokounmpo also thanked his brothers, calling them “role models.” His brothers had to fight tears as well, especially when Antetokounmpo started talking about their mother.
“She’s my hero,” Antetokounmpo said. “When you’re a little kid, you don’t see the future. If you have a good parent, your parent sees the future for you. She always saw the future in us, she always believed in us, she was always there for us. She’s the foundation of this family. You’re my true hero.”
The speech ended with Antetokounmpo addressing the one thing he did not accomplish this season.
“This is just the beginning. My goal is to win a championship, as my dad taught me. Always want more and never be greedy. My goal is to win a championship and I will do whatever it takes to make that happen.”
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