Basketball star Giannis Antetokounmpo is making headlines for the emotional speech he made at the NBA Awards on Monday night.
The Milwaukee Bucks forward was named the NBA’s MVP for the 2018-19 season at the ceremony, held at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California.
When NBA commissioner Adam Silver presented him with the trophy, Antetokounmpo became visibly nervous onstage.
Antetokounmpo began his speech by thanking God and the many people who helped him achieve his dreams.
“First of all I want to thank my teammates. It takes more than one person to win sixty games. Every time I walk into the locker room, I saw my teammates, they were ready to go, to fight, they were ready to go to war with me.”
In addition to his teammates, Antetokounmpo thanked the Milwaukee Bucks coaching staff, ownership team and his agents.
Most importantly though, Antetokounmpo thanked three major players in his life — his late father, who passed away in September 2017 at age 54, his four brothers and his mother.
“I want to thank my dad. Obviously you know my dad is not here with me,” Antetokounmpo said through tears. “Two years ago I had the goal in my head, the goal that I was going to be the best player in the league. I’m going to do whatever it takes to help my team win and I’m going to win MVP. Every day that I step on the floor I always think of my dad and that motivates me and pushes me to play harder and move forward.”
Then, the 24-year-old took a moment to speak to his four brothers, who also had emotional reactions to their brother's acceptance speech.
“I want to thank my amazing brothers, I love you guys. You know I love you guys. You guys are my ride or die, my role models, I look up to you guys. Thank you for everything you do for me.”
And of course, Antetokounmpo couldn’t leave out the person he called “my true hero.”
"I want to thank my amazing mom, my amazing mom. She is my hero," Antetokounmpo said. "If you have a good parent, your parent sees the future for you. She always saw the future in us, she always believed in us. She is the foundation of this family. You are my true hero.”
Antetokounmpo has been receiving praise from many basketball and sports legends on social media.
Kobe Bryant wrote on Twitter, "My man....M.V.P. Greatness. Next up: Championship."
Robert Littal, editor-in-chief of Black Sports Online, also wrote in a Twitter post, pointing out that Bryant was part of Antetokounmpo's motivation to become the league's most valuable player in the first place.
At the end of his speech, Antetokounmpo remarked, “At the end of the day, this is just the beginning. My goal is to win a championship. As my dad told me, you know always one more but never be greedy. My goal is to win a championship and I am going to do whatever it takes to make that happen.”
We sure can’t wait to see Antetokounmpo earn that championship ring. Congratulations Giannis!