Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the 2019 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player on Monday night, and there wasn't a close second.
According to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, Antetokounmpo received 78 first-place votes, while James Harden received 23. Paul George, the third MVP finalist, did not receive any first- or second-place votes.
MVP Voting Results
1. Antetokounmpo, 941 points
2. Harden, 776
3. George, 356
4. Nikola Jokic, 212
5. Stephen Curry, 175
6. Damian Lillard, 69
7. Joel Embiid, 49
8. Kevin Durant, 25
9. Kawhi Leonard, 13
10. Russell Westbrook, 8
T-11. Rudy Gobert, 1
T-11. LeBron James, 1
Beck also released the voting breakdown for Defensive Player of the Year, for which Antetokounmpo was also a finalist and received 26 first-place votes. Rudy Gobert won the award for the second straight year.
Antetokounmpo averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals across 72 regular-season games for the Milwaukee Bucks.
The 24-year-old was emotional while accepting the MVP award.
"Two years ago, I had the goal in my head that I'm gonna be the best player in the league," Antetokounmpo said through tears, "and I'm gonna do whatever it takes to help my team win and I'm gonna win everything. 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."
Watch his entire speech below:
After Antetokounmpo became the fifth international MVP in NBA history, the Houston Rockets shared why Harden should have been named the back-to-back MVP:
Houston Rockets @HoustonRockets
Congrats to the new MVP, but we respectfully disagree. 📝 @JHarden13 ⤵️ ✔️ Finished Top 2 in MVP voting 4 out of the last 5 seasons ✔ 1st player in NBA history to avg at least 35.0ppg & 7.0apg in a single season ✔ Scored 40+ pts 28 times this season, 50+ 9 times & 60+ twice https://t.co/UMmHARlNxg
The argument for Harden is a strong one. The Rockets experienced injury-riddled stretches, including 17 games when Chris Paul was out with a hamstring injury. In that span, Harden led the Rockets to an 12-5 record.
Antetokounmpo, though, propelled the Bucks to an NBA-best 60-22 record for the first time since 1973-74.
"James Harden had unbelievable numbers—and Paul George also—but it's all about winning," Antetokounmpo told reporters Monday night.