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‘We are beyond proud:’ Giannis Antetokounmpo wins NBA MVP honor

California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports)

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player for the 2018-19 season, the league announced Monday night, June 24 during the NBA Awards in Los Angeles. Antetokounmpo joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in Bucks history to earn MVP honors.

“We are beyond proud of Giannis for earning his first MVP award,” said Bucks General Manager Jon Horst in a news release from the Milwaukee Bucks. “This well-deserved honor is due to his relentless hard work and dedication in becoming the most impactful player in the NBA. Giannis propelled the Bucks to great heights last season with his leadership, drive and unselfish play. His grace on and off the court has made him one of the most admired players in the world. On behalf of ownership, the entire Bucks organization and Bucks fans everywhere, we congratulate Giannis for being named MVP.”

California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports)

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 24: Giannis Antetokounmpo accepts the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player award onstage during the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on TNT at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports)

While leading the Bucks to their best record since the 1980-81 season and the top mark in the NBA at 60-22, Antetokounmpo averaged 27.7 points (3rd in the NBA), 12.5 rebounds (6th in the NBA) and 5.9 assists (T-20th in the NBA) per game – all career-highs. He also shot a franchise record 57.8% from the field (11th in the NBA), blocked 1.5 shots (10th in the NBA) and swiped 1.3 steals each contest. Antetokounmpo became just the ninth player in NBA history to average at least 25.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game over the course of a season and did so with the highest shooting percentage, the release said.

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 24: Giannis Antetokounmpo, winner of the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player award, poses in the press room during the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on TNT at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Turner Sports)

A First Team All-NBA and First Team All-Defense selection, and finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, Antetokounmpo earned Eastern Conference Player of the Month honors in Oct./Nov., December, February and March/April last season and was a six-time Eastern Conference Player of the Week winner. Antetokounmpo captained Team Giannis at the 68th All-Star Game in February after receiving the most player votes, the second-most fan votes and tied for the second-most media votes among all players.

According to the release, this was the fourth time a Bucks player has won MVP and the first time since Abdul-Jabbar in 1973-74, who also won in 1970-71 and 1971-72.

At the age of 24, Antetokounmpo is just the 12th player to win MVP before turning 25 and is the youngest MVP since Derrick Rose (22) won in 2010-11.

The Kia NBA Most Valuable Player was voted on by the media.

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