Sports | June 25, 2019 10:08 am

Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo Thanks Late Father in Emotional NBA MVP Award Speech

Antetokounmpo's father died two years ago of a sudden heart attack

MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo accepts the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player award onstage during the 2019 NBA Awards. (Kevin Winter/ Getty for Turner Sports)
Getty Images for Turner Sports

Big men cry hard.

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks gave an emotional speech Monday night when he was presented with the NBA’s highest honor — the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

Antetokounmpo, 24, was crowned king of the 2018-2019 season for the first time in his career, edging out James Harden and Paul George, USA Today reported. He led his team to top five rankings in both offensive and defensive efficiency and himself finished in the top three in the Defensive Player of the Year voting. The Bucks had the best record in the Eastern Conference this season before falling to the eventual Finals champion Toronto Raptors.

“The Greek Freak,” as he’s lovingly referred to by fans, was brought to tears during his acceptance speech when he spoke about his late father, who he said he plays for every day. Charles Antetokounmpo died unexpectedly at 54-years-old of a heart attack in 2017.

“I want to thank my dad,” he said. “Obviously, you know, he’s not here with me. Two years ago, I had the goal in my head that I’m going to be the best player in the league and 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 always think about my dad and that motivates me to play harder and move forward.

“As my dad told me, always want more, but never be greedy,” the nearly 7-foot star added. “My goal is to win a championship and we’re going to do whatever we can to make that happen.”

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