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Emotional Giannis Antetokounmpo named NBA Most Valuable Player

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo poses with his NBA Most Valuable Player award at the 2019 NBA Awards show

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player – beating the likes of James Harden and Paul George.

The Milwaukee Bucks forward picked up the league’s most prestigious prize for the first time at the NBA Awards on Monday night.

He denied Harden a second consecutive victory, and became the third youngest player to be named MVP over the past 40 years.

Accepting the award at a ceremony in California, the 24-year-old broke down in tears as he thanked his “hero” mother and late father for supporting him.

“This is just the beginning,” he said. “My goal is to win a championship. As my dad told me, always want more but never be greedy.

“My goal is to win a championship and I’m going to do whatever it takes to make that happen.”

Antetokounmpo’s impressive 2018-19 season saw him notch up an average of 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game, leading the Bucks to their best record since the 1980-81 season.

He joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in Bucks history to be named MVP.

“We are beyond proud of Giannis for earning his first MVP award,” said Bucks general manager Jon Horst, quoted on the team’s official website.

“This well-deserved honour is due to his relentless hard work and dedication in becoming the most impactful player in the NBA.

“Giannis propelled the Bucks to great heights last season with his leadership, drive and unselfish play.

“His grace on and off the court has made him one of the most admired players in the world.”

Former winners of the award include Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant – as well as four-time victor LeBron James.

Other winners at the 2019 awards included Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, who won the Rookie of the Year award, and Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors, who was named Most Improved Player.

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