To Giannis Antetokounmpo, winning the 2018-19 NBA MVP award has been a humbling experience.
Speaking Sunday during a meet-and-greet with fans at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, the Bucks star asked fans to refrain from chanting his credentials — at least until he repeats.
“After this day, July 14, please, please, please — do me this favor, so I can be better, I can be a better player, I can lead this city to win a championship — please don’t call me MVP,” Antetokounmpo said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Until I win it again next year.
“Let me tell you why. I work my butt off every single day … When I look at this trophy, man … it’s all the days that I was mad, all the days I was happy, all the days I was in pain, all the days I was upset … We could be better.
“It’s the whole season, right here in this trophy. And not just the season — and the moments behind the scenes — but when I am back home with my family, that they support me on a daily basis. They want me to be successful. When I look at this trophy, that’s what I see.
“And by people calling me the MVP, that’s not going to help me. So that’s why I said, from this day on, I don’t want to be the MVP. I’m just Giannis, and let’s go get something bigger.”
While he’s enjoyed a tour this offseason that’s included stops in California, Las Vegas and his native Greece, he’s still working out and already looking forward to preparing for next season.
“I cannot wait for the season to start and get back to my routine,” Antetokounmpo said.
Antetokounmpo, coming off his sixth season with the Bucks, helped Milwaukee to the NBA’s best record at 60-22 while averaging 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game.
At 24, he last month became the youngest MVP winner since Derrick Rose in 2010-11.