2021 Kia All-Star: Giannis Antetokounmpo wins MVP award

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo couldn’t miss in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game.

The Bucks star made all 16 shots he attempted and had 35 points for Team LeBron in a 170-150 victory over Team Durant.

Antetokounmpo picked up his first All-Star MVP in a game in which he became the first player in NBA history to shoot 100% from the field on 10 or more shots.

“Obviously, I’m extremely happy at just having the award with the name of Kobe Bryant in my house,” he said.

“It’s a great feeling. I wanted to win the one last year really bad, and I had a chance to win because I felt like I wanted to have the trophy in my house. But this year I wasn’t even thinking about winning it. I was just thinking about having fun, and I had the opportunity to play well.”

Antetokounmpo, a two-time regular season MVP, had nine dunks, including his first three makes, and finished his scoring with a 3-pointer he banked in off the backboard, his second 3-point bank of the game.

With his first pick in the All-Star draft, LeBron James, who is 4-0 as an All-Star GM, selected Antetokounmpo.

With his second pick, he took Curry.

“That’s why I drafted them, man,” James said. “It’s guys that I obviously compete against on a nightly basis, but guys that I’m just in awe of.”

There was a special father-son moment just before the game when Antetokounmpo and his son, Liam, took turns dribbling a basketball on the sideline near halfcourt.

The Bucks star made five shots in the first quarter, six in the second and five in the third. He also had seven rebounds and three assists.

Antetokounmpo might not be in the middle of another MVP season, but he’s still an All-Star and headed for one of the three All-NBA teams. He is averaging 29.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists and is shooting 55.7% for the Bucks, who are in third place behind Philadelphia and Brooklyn in the Eastern Conference.

Just before the season began, Antetokounmpo signed a max contract extension with the Bucks, a $228 million deal. But the past two seasons, the Bucks have fallen short, losing to Toronto in the 2019 conference finals and Miami in the 2020 conference semifinals.

The Bucks and Antetokounmpo invested in each other in hopes of winning a title, but the 26-year-old superstar wants to avoid the pressure of those expectations.

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