Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the NBA’s most valuable player of the 2018-19 season.
Popularly referred to as the “Greek Freak,” 24 years old Antetokounmpo received 78 of the 101 possible first-place votes. He was born in Greece in 1994, to Nigerian immigrants.
In his emotional acceptance speech, Antetokounmpo thanked Greece, Nigerian, and the city of Milwaukee for always supporting him. He also paid a moving tribute to his dad, Charles Antetokounmpo, who passed away in 2017.
“I want to thank my dad. Obviously, my dad is not here with me,” says Giannis. “Two years ago, I had a goal in my head that I was going to be the best player in the league and do whatever it takes to help my team win, and I’m going to win everything.
“Every day I step on the floor, I always think of my dad and that motivates me and pushes me to play harder and move forward. Even when my body is sore, even when I don’t feel like playing, I always show up and do the right thing.”
Gianni also thanked his colleagues, sibling and mum.
“I want to thank my team, my team-mates. MVP is not about stats and numbers,” the newly crowned MVP notes. “It is all about winning and all about making sure you go out there and do everything you can to win. I think that is what we did as a team,” he says of his teammates.
“I want to thank my amazing brothers. I love you guys. You guys are my ride or die, my role model, I look up to you guys. Thank you for everything you do for me. I want to thank my amazing mum. She’s my hero. She always saw the future in us and always believed in us,” he shares.
“And the end of the day, this is just the beginning. My goal is to win the championship and I’m going to do whatever it is to make that happen,” a happy, tearful Gianni concludes.