“But I’ve got to keep getting better,” he said. “I want to be a champion.”
Next season, Antetokounmpo will attempt to become the first N.B.A. player to win three straight M.V.P.s since Larry Bird from 1984 to 1986. In March, Antetokounmpo told reporters that winning the award again is “not important at all” to him.
Antetokounmpo received 85 of 101 first-place votes, while LeBron James, going for his fifth M.V.P. award, came second with 16 first-place votes. (The New York Times does not participate in awards voting.)
Antetokounmpo is affectionately known as the Greek Freak, a reference to his unusually long wingspan and his home country of Greece, where he grew up. The son of Nigerian immigrants, Antetokounmpo was drafted by Milwaukee with the 15th pick in the draft in 2013. He was only 18. Antetokounmpo entered the league as a slender, raw talent with lots of potential, but it did not take long before he turned himself into a force. His first All-Star game came in 2017, the same year he won the Most Improved Player Award. But his rise continued from there, culminating with his first M.V.P. award last season.
With the second award, Antetokounmpo joins Curry, James, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Bird, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell as the players who have repeated in back-to-back years.
Now, after the Bucks’ loss to the Heat, Antetokounmpo has a big decision to make soon: He is eligible to become a free agent after next season.