Giannis Antetokounmpo wins MVP at the 2019 NBA Awards

    Giannis Antetokounmpo, of the Milwaukee Bucks, reacts as he accepts the most valuable player award at the NBA Awards on Monday.

    (CNN)Giannis Antetokounmpo has been crowned the NBA's most valuable player.

    Antetokounmpo, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks, gave a heartfelt speech thanking his coaches, teammates and his father, Charles, who died in September 2017 of a heart attack, according to the NBA's website.
    "I want to thank my dad. Obviously, you know, he's not here with me. Two years ago, I had the goal in my head that I'm going to be the best player in the league and I'm going to do whatever it takes to help my team win and I'm going to win the MVP," he said.
      "Everyday that I step on the floor, I always think about my dad and that motivates me, that pushes me to play harder and move forward."
        Antetokounmpo led his team to the Eastern Conference Finals, but lost to the Toronto Raptors who went on to win the NBA Finals.
        Antetokounmpo is the first Greek NBA all-star and was also nominated for Defensive Player of the Year. Because of his size -- 6-feet, 11-inches, 242 pounds -- and athleticism, Antetokounmpo is known as the "Greek Freak." He joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who won three times, as the only Bucks players to earn MVP honors, according to a news release from the team. Antetokounmpo's coach, Mike Budenholzer, also won NBA Coach of the Year.
        Shaquille O' Neal hosted the 2019 NBA Awards Monday where the league's top performers were honored.
          Here are the other big winners of the night:

          Rookie of the Year

          Luka Dončić
          Luka Dončić is the 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year.
          The Dallas Mavericks guard is a Slovenia native and joins Spain's Pau Gasol (2002) as the only Rookie of the Year winners who didn't play high school or college basketball in the United States.
          Dončić also joins Jason Kidd (1995) as the only Mavericks player to win Rookie of the Year.

          Defensive Player of the Year

          Rudy Gobert, of the Utah Jazz, accepts the NBA defensive player of the year award at the NBA Awards.
          For the second year in a row, Rudy Gobert is the league's best defender.
          The Utah Jazz center is the second player in the team's history to win the award twice. The first was Mark Eaton in 1985 and 1989.