By Agence France-Presse
Milwaukee Bucks star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the 2018-19 regular season on Monday.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.