Fall 2021 SS Magazine

NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo thanks God in MVP acceptance speech

On Monday night, NBA commissioner Adam Silver stood on stage and announced Giannis Antetokounmpo was the winner of the 2019 NBA MVP award.

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A very emotional Antetokounmpo came to the stage to accept the award, and after fighting back a few tears, gave thanks.

“First of all, I want to thank God for blessing me with this amazing talent, for putting me in the position that I am today,” he said. “Everything I do, I do through Him. I’m extremely blessed.”

Antetokounmpo showed raw emotion as he thanked his teammates, his coaching staff and the Milwaukee Bucks front office for helping him on his journey. But it was when he thanked his family, starting with his late father, his brothers and his mom, whom he called “his true hero,” that he began to break down.

The 2018-19 season was amazing for Antetokounmpo. Known as “The Greek Freak,” he averaged 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds per game in leading the Bucks to the best record in the NBA. The 24-year-old forward from Greece beat out Thunder forward Paul George and Rockets guard James Harden to win the award.

In 2015, Antetokounmpo wrote in a blog that his motto for life was based off of 2 Corinthians 5:7:

When I was 15 years old, I’d tried to get in the selection of the 12 best players in the school championships. I’d been cut from the top ones. Most of the kids that were in the top 12 do not play basketball professionally. I’m in the NBA.

On the occasion of this story that took place a few years ago, I’ll reveal my motto to you, the one that only my family knows about: Walk By Faith, NOT by sight!

I believe that this is the right attitude to life for everyone! I just need to be the better son, brother and human being I can.

Antetokounmpo is the third-youngest player to win MVP over the past 40 seasons, following Derrick Rose and LeBron James. He is also the fifth player born outside the U.S. to win the award.

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