Giannis Antetokounmpo Wins MVP Over James Harden, Paul George at NBA Awards

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo won MVP at the NBA Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. on Monday.

Antetokounmpo defeated fellow finalists James Harden and Paul George for the honor.

The 24-year-old is the third-youngest MVP winner since 1980.

Antetokounmpo, Derrick Rose and LeBron James are the only players in the last 40 years to win the MVP before turning 25.

Antetokounmpo was emotional in his speech on Monday, thanking his family while reflecting on his path from Greece to the top of the NBA.

“Two, three years ago I had the goal in my head, that goal to be the best player in the league,” Antetokounmpo said. “I’m gonna do whatever it takes to win and I’m going to win MVP. And everytime I step on the floor I think of my dad and that motivates me to play harder and move forward even when my body is sore, I don’t feel like playing, I’m always going to show up and I’m going to do the right thing.”

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to a league-best 60 wins in 2018-19. He earned first-team All-NBA honors with 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, both career highs. Antetokounmpo also shot 57.8% from the field and averaged 5.9 assists per game.

The Bucks lost to the Raptors in six games in the Eastern Conference finals. Milwaukee defeated Detroit in round one of the East playoffs, then dispatched Boston in five games.

The MVP has been given to a first-time winner in each of the past three seasons. James Harden won the award in 2017-18, following former teammate Russell Westbrook.