Milwaukee Bucks forward Antetokounmpo delivered a heartfelt speech thanking his coaches, teammates and his father, Charles, who died in September 2017 from a heart attack, according to the NBA website.
“I want to thank my dad, obviously you know, he’s not with me, two years ago I thought I would be the best player in the league and I would do whatever it takes to help my team win and I will win the MVP, “he said.
“Every day, I think of my father and it motivates me, it pushes me to play harder and move on.”
Antetokounmpo is the first Greek star player in the NBA and has also been nominated for defensive player of the year. Because of its size (6 feet, 11 inches, 242 pounds) and athleticism, Antetokounmpo is known as the “Greek phenomenon.” He joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has won three times, as the only Bucks players to win the most valuable player honors, according to a press release from the team. Antetokounmpo coach Mike Budenholzer also won the NBA coach of the year award.
Shaquille O’Neal staged the 2019 NBA Awards on Monday, where the top performers in the league were honored.
Here are the other big winners of the night:
Luka Dončić is the rookie of the year 2019 of the NBA.
The Dallas Mavericks’ guard is from Slovenia and joins Spaniard Pau Gasol (2002) as the only rookie of the year winner who did not play college basketball or high school in the United States.
Dončić also joins Jason Kidd (1995) as the only Maverick player to win the Rookie of the Year title.
For the second consecutive year, Rudy Gobert is the best defender of the league.
The Utah Jazz Center is the second player in the team’s history to win this award twice. The first was Mark Eaton in 1985 and 1989.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird shared the Lifetime Achievement 2019 Achievement Award.
The duo were on both sides of one of the league’s busiest rivalries and fought for the supremacy of the NBA for several seasons in the 1980s.
Their rivalry has brought more fans to the game and made television not to be missed at the NBA.
Johnson and Bird talked about each other and the state of basketball today.
“It’s amazing how these guys play the game today, I could not be more proud of them, the game is well placed,” said Bird, adding a tip to young players: “Keep the game as he found it and it will last generations. “
Johnson said that he and Bird have pushed each other towards greatness.
“Every day, I watched your box score,” Johnson said, adding that he wanted to equal or overtake Bird. “Thank you for pushing me and I hope I did the same for you.”
CNN’s Marty Edelman contributed to this report.