Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) for 2018-2019, becoming the third youngest player to ever win the award.
Announced on Monday night at the NBA Awards in Santa Monica, California, the 24-year-old Milwaukee Bucks forward from Greece was the overwhelming winner, with 941 points and 78 first-place votes.
Getting up to accept the award, Antetokounmpo was visibly emotional and despite his efforts couldn’t hold back the tears.
Firstly he thanked God, before going on to acknowledge his team mates and coaching staff.
“It takes more than one person to win 60 games. Every time I walked to the locker room and I saw my team, they were ready to go and fight, they were ready to go to war with me, they laced up their shoes and they went out to give 100 per cent,” he said.
Antetokounmpo also thanked Greece, where fans wake up in the early hours of the morning to watch him play on TV, and send him messages of support.
The talented basketballer went on to thank his late father, crediting him for pushing him toward his goals.
“Every day that I step on the floor I think about my dad and that motivates me and it pushes me to play harder, move forward even when my body’s sore, even though when I don’t feel like playing, I’m always going to show up and do the right thing,” Antetokounmpo said, tears running down his face.
He then thanked his brothers and his mother, who were in the audience, also visibly emotional with his achievement.
“I want to thank my amazing mum … she’s my hero … you don’t see the future, but if you have a good parent, your parent sees the future for you and she always saw the future in us, she always believed in us, she was always there for us …,” he said.
Backstage Antetokounmpo revealed he had vowed to his family he wasn’t going to cry if he was named MVP, but the reality was a different story.
“When you hear your name up there on the stage and then you realise these years of hard work, what you did in the past, then you start getting emotional,” he said.
Watch Giannis Antetokounmpo giving his speech at the 2019 NBA Awards: