The third annual NBA Awards show was held on Monday night in Los Angeles, bringing together most of the league’s stars for a celebration of players who won the league’s top honors.

NBA Awards Show
Giannis Antetokounmpo won the MVP award over James Harden at the NBA Awards show on Monday night. (Image: Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)

The show was headlined by the MVP award, which went to Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Giannis, Harden Dominate MVP Voting

Antetokounmpo was considered the favorite to win the MVP award heading into the night, with James Harden of the Houston Rockets considered to be the other main contender.

In the end, the voting wasn’t all that close. Antetokounmpo picked up 78 first place votes compared to just 23 for James Harden. It was clear that they were the top two candidates, as no other player received a single first or second place vote.

Paul George finished in third place, with Nikola Jokic and Stephen Curry rounding out the top five.

After he was announced as the winner, Antetokounmpo gave an emotional speech in accepting the award.

“Two years ago, I had the goal in my head that I’m gonna be the best player in the league,” Antetokounmpo said. “Every day that I step on the floor, I always think about my dad, and that motivates me and it pushes me to play harder and move forward.”

NBA Awards: Doncic Picks Up ROY, Siakam Most Improved

The Rookie of the Year award voting was even more one-sided. Dallas Mavericks swingman Luka Doncic received 98 of the 100 available first place votes to easily beat out Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young and Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton for the award. Young picked up the other two first place votes and 97 second place votes, with only Ayton picking up a single second place nod outside of the top two candidates.

“I have no words,” Doncic said at the NBA Awards show. “This is something special. Deandre and Trae had amazing seasons. I’m happy to have it, so it’s special.”

Other award winners included Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, who received the Most Improved Player honor, Lou Williams, who took the Sixth Man Award for the Los Angeles Clippers, Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, and Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer, who was named Coach of the Year.

The NBA Awards show has come under criticism for taking place well after the end of the NBA season, after many fans have stopped paying attention to basketball. The show can sometimes feel like an afterthought, and that shows with how some players treat it: Harden didn’t even show up, opting instead to schedule a promotional trip in China for Adidas this week.

But for fans who do tune in, the show certainly has its moments. This year, the most memorable may have been Jay Pharoah playing the “new Shaq” for Inside the NBA:

The NBA Awards show was hosted by Shaquille O’Neal, and was held at the Barker Hangar in Los Angeles.

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