Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks has been named this year’s NBA MVP, his second consecutive year winning the award, the league announced Friday. The 25-year-old forward, who also won Defensive Player of the Year, joins Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win both awards during the same season.
Antetokounmpo finished in first place with a total of 85 first-place votes and 962 points, placing him ahead of James’ 753 points and Harden’s 367 points. The back-to-back MVP made waves during the season, averaging career highs of 29.5 points and 13.6 rebounds, along with 5.6 assists.
Despite this, the Bucks were sent home after facing Jimmy Butler and the young Miami Heat team. The Heat went on to win the series 4-1 and the “Greek Freak” was forced to sit out the final two games with an ankle injury.
Antetokounmpo accepted the award from NBA commissioner Adam Silver virtually in Athens, Greece, with the sounds of his son joyfully screaming in the background. The player thanked his family, and teammates for keeping him honest and sharp, saying the award “would not be possible without them.”
“Just being in the same conversation [as Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon], it’s a great compliment. But I have a lot of work to do. I gotta keep getting better. But just being in the same conversation as them, that means a lot to me. It wouldn’t be possible without hard work.”
Beyond making history, the two awards also put Antetokounmpo in a perfect position in the postseason, as his contract with Milwaukee comes to a close next season. Antetokoumpo can either sign an extension or play and be classified as a free agent in 2021. With Milwaukee failing to win the championship, Antetokoumpo might be forced to choose between his team and a ring.