Giannis Antetokounmpo really nailed it with his acceptance speech upon winning NBA MVP on Monday night.
The Greek Freak was the runaway winner of the award, winning it easily over James Harden, who was the only other player to receive first-place votes. Giannis’ MVP speech really could not have been better.
The Milwaukee Bucks star got emotional as he went through thanking people, especially his family.
That speech is exactly why Antetokounmpo is almost unanimously loved in the NBA. It was reminiscent of Kevin Durant’s “you the real MVP” MVP speech.
While you’re at it, make sure you watch the video the Bucks released on Giannis’ journey. It’s excellent as well.
Just a kid from Sepolia.
Who came to Milwaukee.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 25, 2019
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo barely had finished his acceptance speech for winning this year’s NBA MVP Award when Kobe Bryant issued his next challenge to the Milwaukee Bucks star.
In 2017, Antetokounmpo won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award. On Monday, he took home the league’s highest individual honor, beating out finalists James Harden and Paul George for MVP.
With that accomplishment achieved, Bryant said next on the list for Antetokounmpo is an NBA championship, something Bryant knows his fair share about.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) June 25, 2019
Antetokounmpo stepped up and answered Bryant’s first challenge this past season, two years after it was first issued by the Mamba, who helps train Giannis.
Falling short in the Eastern Conference Finals should make the Milwaukee Bucks star even more motivated to come finish what he started. That could be a scary proposition for the rest of the NBA.
Giannis Antetokounmpo displayed some uncharacteristic behavior after his Milwaukee Bucks’ season came to an end on Saturday night.
The Bucks star had 21 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks in his team’s 100-94 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Antetokounmpo attended his postgame press conference and answered plenty of questions from the media. However, he exited abruptly during the press conference after a question from ESPN’s Malika Andrews directed to him and Khris Middleton:
Giannis left the postgame press conference abruptly after fielding a question about the Bucks' experience. pic.twitter.com/0uAtlX3McF
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 26, 2019
Some are wondering whether Antetokounmpo did not like the question from Andrews about experience. Our suspicion is that he didn’t want to answer a question from Andrews after she published an article the moment the season ended about him potentially leaving Milwaukee in the future.
Antetokounmpo is a widely respected and liked figure in the NBA. This sort of behavior from him is unusual but may have its roots in an untimely article.
Milwaukee’s rise to prominence in the Eastern Conference has largely been due to the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo as a star.
Antetokounmpo has gone from being a second-team All-Rookie member to becoming a finalist for NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year this season. The Bucks have him under contract for two more seasons but would like to extend him for even longer. How they fare next season reportedly will have a big impact on that situation.
According to a report from ESPN’s Malika Andrews, reaching the NBA Finals next season could sway Giannis to sign a long-term contract extension with the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo made first-team All-NBA this season, which was his second season in a row being named to an All-NBA team. The honor qualified him for the supermax contract extension next summer, one that would give him the largest contract in NBA history.
If Antetokoumpo wants to, he would be able to sign a five-year, $247.3 million deal next summer, one that would keep him under contract with the Bucks for the next seven seasons.
The Bucks had the best record in the regular season and came up short in the conference finals. They’re close to reaching the NBA Finals, and you can bet Antetokounmpo will be chasing that pursuit hard this offseason.
The Milwaukee Bucks appeared to be in complete control of the Eastern Conference Finals just six short days ago, but suddenly they find themselves facing elimination heading into Game 6 in Toronto on Saturday. Despite the disappointing showing they have had over the past three games, Giannis Antetokounmpo insists the Bucks are not going to pack it in.
Following Milwaukee’s 105-99 loss on Thursday night, Antetokounmpo was asked if he is concerned about his team falling into the type of skid the Boston Celtics fell into when they beat the Bucks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semis and then lost four straight. He said it’s not going to happen like that.
“We’re not gonna fold,” Giannis said, via ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “We’re the best team in the league. We’re gonna go in, give it everything we got. We can’t fold. We’re gonna come back to Milwaukee being pissed.”
The Bucks led by three at halftime of Game 5 on Thursday and had plenty of chances to win, and Giannis was asked if the loss felt different from some of the team’s other losses given the circumstances. He brushed that aside.
“I just want to win,” he said. “I think we had a chance to win it, but we didn’t. Obviously, I’m pissed. I am not gonna lie to you. We got two more games to go.”
The biggest question heading into Game 6 will be the status of Antetokounmpo’s ankle, as he left Game 5 with just over a minute left and the Bucks down four. He downplayed the injury and said he is “fine,” but Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer had some troubling remarks about it after the game.
There’s no question the Bucks are in trouble, as the Raptors get to play at home in Game 6 with Kawhi Leonard coming off another huge performance. Still, the team with the best player always has a chance to win in the NBA, and Giannis has the ability to be that player any night.
Giannis Antetokounmpo tweaked his ankle during his Milwaukee Bucks’ 105-99 loss to the Toronto Raptors at home in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night.
Antetokounmpo rushed up to defend Kawhi Leonard, who had the ball near Toronto’s basket following an Eric Bledsoe missed field goal in the final two minutes. As he rushed up, he tweaked his right ankle.
Oh no. Giannis turned the ankle here… pic.twitter.com/npX7i2PJhp
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) May 24, 2019
Giannis was slow to get up. While he eventually made it back on defense, he was seen grabbing at his ankle while on defense. He then subbed out of the game after Leonard missed a free throw. Toronto was up 99-95 with 1:12 left when Antetokounmpo went out.
The Greek Freak could be seen walking up and down the Bucks’ sideline like he was testing his ankle. He later checked back in with 34.7 seconds left in the game.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game that he kept Giannis on the bench because he couldn’t move.
Bucks' Mike Budenholzer on why he pulled Giannis Antetokounmpo late in fourth quarter of Game 5 loss to Raptors: "He twisted his ankle in the backcourt. He just looked like he was in a lot of pain and couldn't move." pic.twitter.com/lDQe0pFcLH
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 24, 2019
Multiple players are dealing with injuries at this point in the postseason, but this is another one to watch for during Game 6 on Saturday.
Making one of the All-NBA teams is not just a matter of prestige and recognition for basketball players. Now, the voting of these honors has practical effects on the money certain players can earn on their contracts.
In order to incentivize the best players to remain with their current teams, the league made changes that allow teams to offer more money via the “supermax” contracts to their veteran, often homegrown star players who either win an MVP, get named Defensive Player of the Year, or make one of the All-NBA teams in a recent season.
So who was most strongly affected by the All-NBA voting? Let’s take a look.
1) Klay Thompson loses about $30 million
Thompson has made five straight All-Star teams, but he did not make the All-NBA team. He also did not make an All-NBA team in either of the previous two seasons, which will prevent him from signing a supermax deal. Rather than being eligible to sign a 5-year, $221 million contract, he will be able to top out at around $191 million over five years in a deal from the Warriors. This is good news for the Warriors, as he will be somewhat cheaper to sign. They also can offer Thompson much more money and an extra year compared to other teams looking to sign him as a free agent.