Bucks’ Antetokounmpo named NBA MVP
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks has won Most Valuable Player honors at the NBA Awards.
The 24-year-old forward from Greece beat out Paul George of Oklahoma City and James Harden of Houston, who won last year.
Antetokounmpo earned All-NBA first-team honors this season, his sixth with the Bucks. He led the franchise to the best record in the regular season and the Bucks fell two games short of reaching the NBA Finals.
He averaged 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he thanked his teammates during his speech.
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson have received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the NBA Awards.
The former rivals took turns holding their trophies while each other spoke Monday night.
Bird says the NBA is in good hands with today’s talented athletes and he urged them to keep the game the same so it continues on.
Johnson starred for the Los Angeles Lakers and Bird with the Boston Celtics.
Defensive Player of Year
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz has won Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season at the NBA Awards.
The 26-year-old center from France beat out Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee and Paul George of Oklahoma City.
Coach of Year
Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer has won Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his career at the NBA Awards.
He guided the Bucks to a 60-22 record in the regular season in his first year with the franchise, leading them to the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to eventual NBA champion Toronto.
He got choked up while thanking his wife and kids Monday night.
Budenholzer also coached Team Giannis in the All-Star Game last season
He earned his first Coach of the Year trophy with Atlanta in 2015.
Budenholzer beat out Denver’s Mike Malone and Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards has received the NBA Cares Community Assist honor at the NBA Awards.
The guard accepted the award accompanied by two young boys he has worked with in the Washington area.
Beal urged his fellow NBA players to give back to youth, calling them the future. He reminded the league that kids look up to the players as role models “whether we like it or not.”
Sixth Man of Year
Lou Williams has won the Sixth Man of the Year at the NBA Awards for the second season in a row and third time in his career.
The guard also won last year with the Los Angeles Clippers. His first honor came in 2015 with Toronto.
Williams beat out teammate Montrezl Harrell, with whom he formed the highest-scoring bench duo in NBA history last season, and Domantas Sabonis of Indiana.
Williams became the career leader in points off the bench during the season. He said backstage that this year’s award is different because he went into the season wanting a third honor to cement his legacy in coming off the bench throughout his career.
Sportsmanship of Year
Mike Conley Jr., newly traded to the Utah Jazz, has won Teammate and Sportsmanship of the Year honors at the NBA Awards.
Conley earned the awards for his 12-year tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Backstage, Conley called the awards the result of respect from his peers in the league. He thanked his parents for the way he was raised.
Most Improved Player
Pascal Siakam of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors has won the Most Improved Player at the NBA Awards.
The 25-year-old from Cameroon averaged 16.9 points and started 79 of 80 regular-season games for the Raptors in his third year with the team.
Siakam had 26 20-point outings after scoring 20 points in a game only once in his first two seasons. He then scored 32 points in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Siakam beat out De’Aaron Fox of Sacramento and D’Angelo Russell of Brooklyn.
Siakam says his award can give hope to African kids to work hard in pursuing their dreams.
Rookie of Year
Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks has won Rookie of the Year at the NBA Awards.
The 20-year-old small forward from Slovenia accepted his trophy from RJ Barrett, who went to the New York Knicks as the No. 3 pick in the NBA draft last week.
Doncic was the No. 3 pick last year.
The other finalists were Deandre Ayton of Phoenix and Trae Young of Atlanta.
The biggest names in pro basketball gathered for the annual NBA Awards show.
Shaquille O’Neal presided over the festivities Monday night from Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport.
Among the presenters were Tiffany Haddish, Issa Rae and Samuel L. Jackson.