A little over a week removed from the Toronto Raptors securing their first NBA championship, the league celebrated the best players from the 2018-19 season at Monday's NBA Awards show.
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo prevailed in the night's most anticipated race, beating out James Harden and Paul George for Most Valuable Player. He's the second player in franchise history to win MVP, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
According to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, Giannis took home the award in a landslide. He collected 78 first-place votes to Harden's 23.
Antetokounmpo's achievement capped off an event that largely went as expected. Here are the winners for the top honors:
2018-19 NBA Awards
Most Valuable Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Rookie of the Year: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
Most Improved Player: Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Teammate of the Year and Sportsmanship Awards: Mike Conley, Utah Jazz
Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks
Executive of the Year: Jon Horst, Milwaukee Bucks
NBA Cares Community Assist Award: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Sager Strong Award: Robin Roberts
Antetokounmpo delivered a similar moment as he grew emotional thanking his family members for helping him reach the pinnacle of the NBA.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was among those moved by the speech:
The Bucks were big winners at the NBA Awards. In addition to Antetokounmpo's win, Mike Budenholzer was Coach of the Year and general manager Jon Horst was Executive of the Year.
In general, Monday emphasized the league's shift to the next generation. Bobby Karalla of the Dallas Mavericks' official site noted Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (26) was the oldest winner among the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player.
Antetokounmpo only turned 24 in December, while Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic celebrated his 20th birthday in February. Those two, in particular, could lead the way for the NBA in the years ahead.
Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts was the third recipient of the Sager Strong Award, joining Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams and Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo.
Roberts announced in 2007 she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Five years later, she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone marrow disease. Be The Match said more than 18,000 people joined the organization's marrow donation registry list once Roberts took her diagnosis public.
Roberts understandably stole the show.
Although individual awards often shape a player's legacy on the hardwood, the tone of the evening was generally pretty light. That was never more true than when former Saturday Night Live cast member Jay Pharoah broke out his Shaquille O'Neal impression.
Based on Pharoah's uncanny take on the Hall of Famer, O'Neal might be in danger of losing his job on Inside the NBA:
Washington Wizards point guard John Wall made a brief appearance to unveil the winner of the NBA Cares Community Assist Award, his Wizards teammate Bradley Beal. On the red carpet, Wall provided an update on his recovery from a ruptured Achilles.
Looking ahead to next year, another Achilles injury could indirectly have a big impact on the MVP race. Kevin Durant's ruptured Achilles opens the door wide open for a number of teams to have genuine title aspirations. Because of that, the spotlight will be on a number of marquee stars.
After missing out on a second straight MVP, Harden will be back with a vengeance next season. Perhaps LeBron James has at least one more otherworldly campaign left in the tank. Throw in the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Jokic, Damian Lillard and Joel Embiid, and next year's MVP ballot could be bursting at the seams.
And don't count out Stephen Curry, as he will have to carry a large load for the Golden State Warriors as they chase their sixth consecutive Finals appearance.