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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)

Giannis Antetokounmpo Named 'Most Valuable Player' at 2019 NBA Awards

The Greek-Nigerian forward is the third youngest player to win the award in 40 years.

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, was named MVP at the NBA Awards on Monday.

With his win, the Greek-born, Nigerian player has become the third youngest player to win the award in 40 years, after Derrick Rose and LeBron James.

The 24-year-old forward, beat out the likes of James Harden, Paul George, Nikola Jokic and Steph Curry, to earn the most first-place votes. He earned a total of 78 out of the 101 possible first-place voted, as ESPN reports.

He is the second Buck to win the award, following the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.


Antetokounmpo was a strong contender for the title, as the player, nicknamed "The Greek Freak," helped lead his team to the Eastern Conference Finals. He averaged 27.7 points per game this season, as well as 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists.

Upon accepting his award on Monday, the athlete gave an emotional speech, thanking God, his teammates and family, and remembering his late father. Watch the heartfelt moment below.

"MVP is not about stats and numbers," said Antetokounmpo on Monday. "It is all about winning and all about making sure you go out there and do everything you can to win. I think that is what we did as a team."

The star athlete is one of the league's most impressive players. Earlier this year, the player was named All-Star Captain for the Eastern Conference team at the NBA All-Star Games.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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