Giannis Antetokounmpo Wins 2019 NBA MVP, Gets Very Emotional

Milwaukee Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo won the NBA's MVP award Monday night at the league's awards ceremony in Los Angeles. The Greek native, who is the third-youngest to win the MVP in the last 40 years behind LeBron James and Derrick Rose, became emotional during his acceptance speech.

Tears streamed down his face as he addressed the crowd and remembered his deceased father.

"Two years ago I had the goal in my head that I'm going to be the best player in the league," Antetokounmpo said. "I'm going to do whatever it takes to help my team win, and I'm going to win the MVP.

"Every day that I step on the floor, I think of my dad, and that kind of motivates me and pushes me to play hard and move forward even though my body's sore and even though I don't feel like playing, I was going to show up and I was going to do the right thing."

Antetokounmpo thanked his Bucks teammates he called "amazing" brothers.

"You guys are my role models." Antetokounmpo said. "I look up to you. I thank you for everything you guys do for me.

"And I want to thank my amazing mom," he said as the broadcast focused on his teary-eyed mother. "She's not just my mom, she's my hero."

He went on to say that children dream big, and that his mother believed in him.

"You're my hero," he said. "A true hero."

2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo attends the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Turner Sports

Antetokounmpo is 6-foot, 11- inches tall and was drafted 15th overall in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. The "Greek Freak," as he is known, averaged 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds in the 2018-19 season while dishing 5.9 assists per game. He was named one of the two captains for the NBA All-Star Game with LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers under the new all-star game format.

Despite the numbers, Antetokounmpo would rather be recognized for his team winning games and championships.

"MVP is not about stats and numbers ... it is all about winning and all about making sure you go out there and do everything you can to win," Antetokounmpo said. "I think that is what we did as a team."

The Bucks fell to eventual NBA champions Toronto Raptors in the playoffs.

Antetokounmpo is the second Bucks player to win the league MVP, following Kareem Abdul Jabaar's feat in the 1971-72 and 73-74 seasons before the former center went on to win four more MVP awards with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder was second in MVP voting for the 2018-19 season, followed by 2017-18 MVP James Harden of the Houston Rockets.

Antetokounmpo was also second in voting for the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award.

Giannis gets emotional as he thanks his family after winning the #KiaMVP trophy. 🙏#NBAAwards pic.twitter.com/c2WrHZMB0k

— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 25, 2019