The league’s brightest stars celebrated what was a memorable and exciting season at the 2019 NBA Award Show in Los Angeles, CA. While several of the NBA’s most prestigious awards were handed out during the annual ceremony, Monday night put an end to one of the most competitive MVP races in league history.
Milwaukee Bucks star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, earned his first Kia Most Valuable Player award, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the second player to receive the honor in franchise history. Antetokounmpo won the award over finalist Paul George and last year’s MVP winner, James Harden.
Despite falling short of an NBA title in the Eastern Conference Finals, Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to their most successful season in nearly two decades. Milwaukee finished the season with the best record in the league at 60–22, their most wins since the 1980–81 season, as well as reaching their first conference finals appearance since the 2000-01 NBA season.
While helping the Bucks become one of the league’s most elite teams, Antetokounmpo made his mark as the new King of the East in 2019. On the offensive end, the 6’11 forward from Greece averaged career-highs across the broad with 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. It is also worth mentioning how dominant Antetokounmpo’s play on the defensive end was throughout the season, averaging 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals over a 72 game span.
At 24 years old, Antetokounmpo became the third-youngest player in league history to be named an MVP, trailing only behind Derrick Rose (23) and LeBron James (24). In addition to his age, Antetokounmpo became the fifth player born outside of the United States to win the award.
The Bucks’ historic season not only brought hardware to The Greek Freak but the coaching staff as well. In his first season as head coach of the Bucks, Mike Budenholzer captured Coach of the Year honors and the second of his second career (Hawks 2013-14).
In addition to Antetokounmpo and Budenholzer bring their awards back to Wisconsin, the NBA also named several other winners to conclude their 2019 season. Dallas Mavericks rising star, Luka Doncic is the 2018-19 Rookie of the Year, while Utah Jazz‘s Rudy Gobert took home his second Defensive Player of the Year award.
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