MILWAUKEE - Giannis Antetokounmpo’s historic year earned him a historic awards sweep. Antetokounmpo was named the 2019-20 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced on Friday, Sept. 18.
The 25-year-old Antetokounmpo becomes just the third player in league history to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season, joining only Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Bucks General Manager Jon Horst
"We are extremely grateful to witness Giannis earn the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award for the second consecutive season and send congratulations to him and his family. Giannis is an elite player and this historic achievement is a testament to his superior work ethic, character and determination to improve every day. He is a special player and an even better person, which makes it that much more gratifying that he is again recognized as our league’s MVP."
Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer
"What Giannis does for our team on both ends of the court, every night, is extraordinary. As a teammate, he sets the bar for all of us through his incredible work ethic, his unselfishness and his drive to be the best. He impacts all of us as a player and a person, and we’re proud to congratulate him once again on being named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player."
In his seventh season, a news release from the Bucks says Antetokounmpo averaged 29.5 points (5th in NBA) and 13.6 rebounds (2nd in NBA) per game, which were both career-high marks, in addition to dishing out 5.6 assists and shooting 55.3% from the field.
He was the only player in the league to rank inside the top-15 in both scoring and rebounding this season and was the only one to average at least 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.
Antetokounmpo also became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain in 1965-66, and only the third player all-time, to average at least 29.0 points, 13.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists over the course of a season.
Led by Antetokounmpo, the Bucks were the NBA’s top team in the regular season for the second straight season as they finished 2019-20 with a 56-17 (.767) record after going 60-22 (.732) last season.
The Bucks outscored their opponents by a league-high 10.1 points per game this season and were the top scoring and rebounding team in the NBA. Milwaukee also led the league in net rating and defensive rating in 2019-20, marking the second consecutive season it has topped the NBA in both categories.
A handful of others have also been first and second in those categories in the same year. Kawhi Leonard was second in the MVP race and won Defensive Player in 2015-16, just as Dwight Howard was in 2010-11 and Alonzo Mourning in 1998-99. LeBron James won MVP and was second in Defensive Player voting in 2008-09 and 2012-13, and Shaquille O’Neal did so in 1999-2000.
But only two players had pulled off the sweep, until now.
James and Houston’s James Harden were the other MVP finalists this season. Antetokounmpo and James were the only players to be first-team All-NBA selections on all 100 ballots cast by the panel of global sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Antetokounmpo also becomes the 14th player with multiple MVP awards and the second international player in that club, joining Canada’s Steve Nash.
This is the fifth time that someone won MVP honors while playing for the Bucks — only Boston, the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia and Chicago have had more — and he’s the 11th player to win back-to-back MVPs.
The others: Stephen Curry, James, Nash, Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.
Associated Press contributed to this report.