Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is of Nigerian descent, has won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.
Antetokounmpo beat Lakers’ Anthony Davies and Utah Jazz’ two-time winner of the award Rudy Gobert to win the prize.
The 25-year-old received 75 first-place votes from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters and earned 432 total points.
Davies got 200 points and 14 first-place votes when Gobert got 187 points with six first-place votes.
The best in the best-defensive team in the regular season, Antetokounmpo averaged an NBA-high 11.5 defensive rebounds in games played through March 11, 2020, and had nine games with at least 15 defensive rebounds.
It was Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer who announced his player as the winner of the award and described him as ‘beyond special’.
“His commitment to defending, his commitment to winning is beyond incredible. He impacts the game with his block shots, his rebounding and his ability to guard all five positions, his chase-down blocks and his challenge to do everything defensively,” Budenholzer said.
“His talent is beyond special, combined with his team, he is made for very special moments and for us to recognise him as the Defensive Player of the Year.”
After receiving the DPOY trophy from his teammate Brook Lopez.
In his speech, Antetokounmpo choked up a little while talking about his journey from Greece to the NBA.
He thanked his family, coach Budenholzer and his teammates for helping him win the award.
“Without my teammates, this wouldn’t be possible. I know that my name is on this trophy but it could be any of these guys’ names on this trophy,” the 2019 MVP said.
“I believe that defence is built on trust and effort. We trust one another, we support one another and believe in one another, that’s why we are the best defensive team in the NBA and we are going to keep it that way.”