Antetokounmpo wins second NBA MVP award
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida (AP):
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s historic year earned him a historic awards sweep.
The Milwaukee forward is the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season, receiving that award yesterday. He got the Defensive Player of the Year award earlier in these NBA playoffs.
Antetokounmpo, 25 years old, becomes just the third player in league history to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season, joining only Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.
“Michael Jordan, one of the best players who’s ever done it, if not the best,” Antetokounmpo said. “Hakeem, a guy that I look up to, he came from where I’m from, Nigeria, where I have roots. Just being in the same sentence with them, that means a lot to me.”
Antetokounmpo, who was in his native Athens, Greece, with his family when the award was announced, received 85 votes from the 100-person panel of global sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league, plus the one additional vote granted by winning fan balloting.
“It feels good to get this award announced when I’m back home,” Antetokounmpo said, after telling NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who was in possession of the trophy yesterday, to hang on to the hardware until he returns to the US.
“I’m going to ship it to Greece,” Silver said during the televised announcement show on NBA TV.
“No, don’t do that,” Antetokounmpo replied. “I’ll come get it when the season starts.”
JAMES SECOND PLACE
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers got the other 15 first-place votes and finished second, and James Harden of the Houston Rockets finished third. James has been first, second, or third in the MVP voting now 11 times in his career, and Harden has been a top-three finisher in each of the last four seasons.
Antetokounmpo’s numbers this season were unprecedented, with averages of 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game. Nobody had ever averaged those numbers over a full season. Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor both had seasons where they topped Antetokounmpo’s averages for points and rebounds though both fell just shy of matching his assist average.