It was a real powerful affair at the NBA awards last night as Giannis Antetokounmpo won the NBA MVP Awards for the 2018-2019 season after dominating on the court.
Giannis is the third-youngest player to win MVP over the past 40 seasons, trailing only Derrick Rose and LeBron James, and he ties Steve Nash for the lowest-drafted MVP in the lottery era (15th overall pick).
The awards were an international affair as Giannis, MVP from Greece, Luca Doncic of the Mavericks, Rookie of the Year from Slovenia, Rudy Gobert of the Jazz, Defensive Player of the Year from France, and Pascal Siakam of the Raptors, Most Improved Player of the Year from Cameroon all took home awards.
The awards, given out last night (70+ days after the end of the season) still felt like they were kind of late as Giannis was dominated by Kawhi Leonard by the now NBA Champion Toronto Raptors. A lot of what the NBA season that was feels like it was last year after 16 playoff games.
The timing of the awards is perfect otherwise, as it keeps the NBA in the headlines, lining up perfectly with the NBA Finals two weeks ago, the NBA draft last week, the NBA awards this week, and NBA free agency starting at the end of this week.
But back to the awards. Giannis, gave a touching acceptance speech, giving honor to his father who died in 2017 of a heart attack.
“I want to thank my dad,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, my dad is not here with me, but two years ago, I had to go in my head that I’m going to be the best player in the league, that I’m going to do whatever it takes to help my team win and that I’m going to win the MVP.
“Every day that I step on the floor I always think about my dad and that motivates me and it pushed me to play hard and move forward even when my body’s sore, even when I don’t feel like playing, I always go and show up and I’m always going to do the right thing.”
Other winners last night include Lou Williams of the Clippers wining his second Sixth Man of the Year Award, Bradley Beal of the Wizards winning the NBA Cares Community Assist Award, Mike Conley of the Grizzlies winning the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award and Sportsmanship Awards.
Robin Roberts gave an emotional speech when she accepted the Sager Strong Awards, encouraging people to “Make your mess your message.”
In an interesting image, The Milwaukee Bucks Coach Mike Budenholzer won the Coach of the Year Award and as he was getting congratulatory handshakes and hugs from around his table, the cameras caught Clippers Coach Doc Rivers (also nominated) frowning as he watched from the next table. Rivers straightened up quickly once he noticed he was on camera.
Other Awards: Lifetime Achievement Awards: Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Hustle Award: Marcus Smart, Celtics, Moment of the Year: Derrick Rose’s 50-point game against the Jazz, Executive of the Year: Jon Horst, Bucks