Sat, 31 Oct 2020

Giannis wins second straight NBA MVP award

Field Level Media
19 Sep 2020, 05:19 GMT+10

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was named NBA MVP for the second straight season, the league announced Friday.

Antetokounmpo received 85 of the 101 first-place votes and earned 962 total points to outdistance second-place LeBron James (16 first-place votes, 753 points) of the Los Angeles Lakers. Houston Rockets star James Harden (367) was third.

Antetokounmpo joins legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James as the only two players to win multiple MVP awards by age 25. He and Abdul-Jabbar (1971 and 1972) are only the Bucks to win the award twice.

However, the 25-year-old Antetokounmpo isn't so keen about being called a two-time MVP. Especially after the Bucks were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs after compiling a league-best 56-17 record.

"Don't call me a two-time MVP until I'm a champion," Antetokounmpo said from his native Greece during an interview on NBA TV.

Antetokounmpo was previously named Defensive Player of the Year. He is the third player to be named MVP and the top defensive player in the same season, joining Hall of Famers Michael Jordan (1987-88, Chicago Bulls) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-94, Rockets).

Voting for the award was based on regular-season play through March 11, the night the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Through March 11, Antetokounmpo averaged 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 57 games.

Antetokounmpo's contract runs out after the 2020-21 season and he is in line to become a free agent if he doesn't re-sign with the Bucks.

He indicated that he is focused on family in the short term -- "I was in the bubble (near Orlando) for two months," he said -- and that there will be a time to discuss the situation with Bucks' management.

"What I'm going to do next is I'm going to get better," he said on NBA TV. "And when the time comes that we're going to talk about contract and we're going to talk about long-term future with Milwaukee that's going to be that time. But now I want to keep getting better and focus on my family.

"... As long as everybody is on the same page and as long as everybody's fighting for the same thing every single day, which is to be a champion, I don't see why not be in Milwaukee for the next 15 years."

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (200 points) and Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (168) round out the top five in the balloting.

James is a four-time MVP and Harden won the award for the 2017-18 season. Harden was the scoring champ (34.3 at end of regular season) for the third straight time.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (2014-16) was the most recent player to win back-to-back MVP awards.

--Field Level Media

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