Giannis Antetokounmpo now stands with some of the biggest and most respected names in basketball after securing his second consecutive NBA MVP award, which the league announced on Friday, Sept. 8.
The 6-foot-11 forward joins a prestigious list of back-to-back winners that includes Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Tim Duncan, and Steve Nash.
Antetokounmpo, who was selected NBA Defensive Player of the Year last month, also becomes only the third player in NBA history to win the defensive award and MVP title in the same season, joining Jordan, who did it in 1988, and Olajuwon, who won the titles in 1994.
The Milwaukee Bucks star gained 85 of 101 first-place votes, according to ESPN, while getting 962 voting points from a combination of broadcasters, 100 sportswriters, and fans.
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James received 753 points in the voting and came in second. James Harden of the Houston Rockets came in third with 367 points, followed by Luca Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks who had 200 points, while the L.A. Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard received 168.
Many congratulated Antetokounmpo on social media for winning his second straight award, but many Twitter users only had eyes for James.
“Lebron was robbed,” someone tweeted.
“Like always smh Bron should have 6 MVPs right now minimum,” another person wrote. “@NBA never gets this award right.”
“Lebrons the true MVP,” a third comment read.
In the 2019-2020 season, Antetokounmpo and James had similar stats and both led their teams to impressive regular-season records.
Antetokounmpo averaged a little over 29 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists per game while leading his team to the best regular-season record in the league at 56-17. James, playing alongside fellow All-Star Anthony Davis, averaged a little over 25 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists while leading the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference.
The Bucks star winning the award might be bittersweet, considering the Miami Heat eliminated his team in the playoffs in five games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals earlier this month. The stacked Lakers team is still going strong and is playing the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals after defeating the Houston Rockets.
Antetokounmpo only played in one quarter in Game 4 against the Heat due to a sprained right ankle, and he missed all of Game 5.
He reacted to winning the award on Friday, Sept. 18, by posting a photo of himself reading The New York Times that showed his picture on the front cover.
The 25-year-old didn’t include a caption with the photo and he disabled the comments section.