Bucks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer delivered the news, by jumping on a table in excitement, to Antetokounmpo following the Bucks Game 4 victory over the Orlando Magic.
“Usually when Coach wants to talk to us after a game, somebody messed up or somebody did something,” Antetokounmpo said, according to ESPN’s Erik Woodyard. “So in my head, I’m like, ‘OK.’ I’m looking around like, ‘Who did something?’ Because I know I didn’t do nothing.”
Antetokounmpo, 25, won easily by receiving 75 first-place votes from a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters and earning 432 points total, becoming the fifth player to win both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in his career.
The other players? Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Kevin Garnett.
“At the end of the day, when you go out there and compete and when you have guys behind you and next to you that compete as hard, awards like this can come,” Antetokounmpo said. “At the end of the day, what I get from this is that you have to win. You have to do whatever it takes every day to go out there and put yourself in a position, put your team in a position to win, and good things are going to happen, and everything is gonna take care of itself.”
Antetokounmpo may be in line for another MVP award, but the superstar believes this season was his best on the defensive end of the court.
“Obviously, I think I can get way better. I can be more active. I can block more shots. I can be in the passing lanes more,” he said. “But going back again, having the best defensive team in the NBA, making your team being the best defensive year, I think it’s been my best year, but you can always get better. You can always improve.”
Antetokounmpo is the first Bucks player to win Defensive Player of the Year honors since Sidney Moncrief won in the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons.