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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the 2019 Kia NBA MVP. Antetokounmpo edged out Houston Rockets guard James Harden and  Oklahoma City Thunder wingman Paul George in a tight race. An emotional Antetokounmpo took the stage following the announcement and gave one of the more memorable speeches in NBA Awards show history.

“MVP is not about stats and numbers, and obviously James Harden had unbelievable numbers and Paul George also, but it’s about winning,” Antetokounmpo said backstage. “We created great habits throughout the season and were able to stick by them, and that’s why we were able to have a chance in every single game we played and were able to win 60 games.”

Antetokounmpo becomes the first Milwaukee Bucks player to win the award since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it three times in four years in the early 1970s.


Antetokounmpo was superb in the 2018-19 season, finishing third in the NBA in points (27.7), sixth in rebounding (12.5), 21st in assists (5.9), 10th in blocks (1.5) and first in player efficiency rating (30.95).

He guided the Bucks to a 60-22 record in the regular season in his first year with the franchise, leading them to the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to eventual NBA champion Toronto.

Anteokounmpo’s game is still evolving. Expect him and Harden to duel it out again for the MVP award in 2020.