Giannis scoops another MVP accolade
Nigerian-Greek forward Giannis Antetokounmpo’s star looks to ever be on the rise as the two-time and reigning NBA regular season MVP added an All-Star Game MVP to his mantle, following his outstanding performance in the 70th edition of the league’s mid-season showcase.
The five-time All-Star earned the accolade with ease and a smile on his face, finishing with a game-leading 35 points after ending the content with a flawless 16-on-16 shooting. No stranger to giving his all even for an exhibition game, Giannis even converted from range and banked in a memorable three-pointer.
''I'm just having fun,'' he said. ''Sometimes when you're having fun and not thinking about the outcome, you just let your instincts take over.''
His efforts helped lead Team LeBron to a 170-150 win over Team Durant at State Farm Arena in Atlanta in the early hours of Monday morning.
His teammate Damian Lillard added 32 points for Team LeBron, including the final three-pointer that sealed the game for the squad.
The league’s top scorer Bradley Beal, led Team Durant with 26 points.
This All-Star Game was a one-night-only event, with two skill competitions held shortly before the game and the Dunk Contest hosted during the halftime break. The players flew in Saturday afternoon and were largely confined to a nearby hotel except for their time on the court.
''This is when everyone in basketball all over the world comes to one city,'' LeBron James said before the game. ''We're able to sit back and go, ‘Wow, this is the game we have built.' It's a beautiful weekend for all walks of life, on the floor and off the floor.”
Other winners on the night included three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry won his second Three-Point Contest, beating Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley in the final round. He became only the seventh player in NBA history to win the contest multiple times.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons won the Slam Dunk Competition. He became the first Trail Blazer to win the contest, finishing with a dunk in which he nearly kissed the rim.
NBA All-Star Domantas Sabonis took the honours in the Skills Challenge.
Meanwhile, James spent most of the night admiring his drafting skill from the bench. He played less than 13 minutes, scored just four points, and didn't return to the court in the second half.