Giannis Antetokounmpo on the MVP Race and the ‘Joy’ of Winning a Championship

During a Q&A with The Athletic, two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo spoke in length about this season’s MVP race and his focus on winning the ultimate regular-season award for the third time since 2020.

So far, Antetokounmpo has gotten less attention in the MVP race behind entrenched candidates like Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic despite averaging 29.8 points, 11.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.4 blocks per game and leading the Bucks (44-27) to the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. The stats rank him second, fifth, 20th, and 11th in the League, respectively.

“Oh, hell no. I’ve done it. I’ve done it. I’m OK. I’m OK with myself. You know, I don’t have social media on my phone. Like I cannot follow it,” Giannis said about keeping track of the MVP race.

However, the lack of acknowledgment from media and fans doesn’t seem to impact Antetokounmpo and his ultimate goal this season, winning a second championship and regaining that feeling the Bucks had when they beat the Suns in Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals, winning their first title since 1971.

In his latest performance against the Kings, Antetokounmpo posted 36 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block as the Bucks edged the Kings, 135-126. It was Antetokounmpo’s fifth straight game with 30 or more points.

“Nah, I want another championship. You know, like, the joy that I felt when I won the MVP was unbelievable. I was with my family. I wish my (late) Dad was there. That was an unbelievable feeling. Grateful. But the joy that I felt when I won a championship, there’s no comparing. There’s no comparing (an MVP) to the joy of being on the bus and seeing 200,000 people celebrating—white, Black, Hispanic, or whatever the case may be. Everybody was celebrating, and you’re giving everybody that joy.”

“There were people that had never seen a championship for 50 years. (They’d say), ‘The last time I saw the championship, I was two years old.’ You know? That’s a different type of joy. It’s not just me being able to win the award. The whole city won an award. That’s what I want, you know? And hopefully, God can bless me and give me that. I’ll do whatever I can do to do it.”

The Bucks have won eight of their last 10 contests, including three of their previous five. On Tuesday, the defending champs will be hosting the Bulls (41-29).