With the regular season coming to a close, the MVP conversation around the NBA has been around Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid and Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokić. One notable name has absent.
It’s looking increasingly likely that Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t win his third MVP this season. While he believes he should have a seat at the table and be a part of that conversation, the Milwaukee Bucks star acknowledged that he’s never going to beg for something he thinks he deserves during an exclusive interview with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.
“Look, I will never try to create a narrative about the work I put in and maybe that might hurt me because I believe the last five years I’ve been the MVP,” Antetokounmpo told Haynes. “Do I want a third MVP? Hell ******* yeah I want a third one. I am extremely competitive. I try to make my team successful. That’s what I get paid for. That’s what I’m here for. I’m never going to be one who discredits anybody else’s work. That’s not who I am as a person. And I will never beg for an MVP award that I believe I deserve. I’m very proud that I’m able to play at an MVP level because that means I’m making my team very successful. That’s the goal.”
Antetokounmpo has averaged a career-high 31.1 points with 11.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 32.1 minutes per game. He’s also led the Milwaukee Bucks to an NBA-best 58-23 record. Despite that, the MVP discussion has been circled around Embiid and Jokić and according to BR, Antetokounmpo was careful not to mention either by name during the course of the interview.
“Can I say this? Two of the MVPs I won in the last five years, those were my two worst seasons [in that span],” Antetokounmpo said. “Go pull up the stats… But it doesn’t even matter. I’ve tried to avoid this conversation at all costs. I don’t ever want to drive a narrative and have my kids seeing their father whining about an award because, at the end of the day, it’s all a part of history. I don’t want to win that way.”
Surely Antetokounmpo will have a chip on his shoulder heading into this year’s playoffs.