Milwaukee Bucks big man Giannis Antetokounmpo capped off an incredible year by being named MVP of the 2018-19 NBA during the league’s award.
Antetokounmpo did just that on Monday night and his words were heavy with gratitude. But in a memorable, moving six minutes, he broke down in tears multiple times, drawing applause and support for the audience.
Antetokounmpo’s speech reached its emotional crescendo when he began talking about his family. Giannis tearfully expressed his love for his brothers, but was even more poignant when discussing his father, who surprisingly passed away on Sept. 29, 2017, following a heart attack at the age of 53.
“Every day that I step on the floor I always think about my dad and that motivates me and it pushes me to play harder and move forward. Even when my body’s sore, even when I don’t feel like playing I’m always going to show up and I’m always going to do the right thing.”
“I want to thank my amazing mom,” he said. “She’s my hero. … As a little kid, you don’t see the future right? 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 was always there for us. She’s the foundation of this family. You’re my true hero. You’re my true hero.”