The 2018-2019 NBA season will ultimately be remembered for whoever wins the NBA Finals, which is again likely to be the Golden State Warriors. But the season leading up to the championship will be remembered for one of the most refreshing MVP caliber campaigns in recent memory, as Giannis Antetokounmpo looks likely to claim the award after a breathtaking season. Not only is he deserving of the award, but the league needed a player like him during this time in its history.
Right now, the NBA is filled with incredibly talented players. But a lot of the players at the very top of the league are disliked for one reason or another. Kevin Durant is perceived by many to have taken the easy way out by joining the Golden State Warriors. LeBron James is often criticized for having coaches and front office members fired. And James Harden spends so much time at the free throw line that many NBA fans don't know what he is capable of beyond hitting his shots at the charity stripe.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, on the other hand, embodies the type of unbridled joy that NBA fans are used to watching when they think about the game they love. To see him on the verge of winning the MVP award in the league is virtually impossible to be upset about.
With 2018-2019 MVP NBA betting on bet365 showing Giannis at -334 to win the MVP, it looks like the rest of the league is fighting for second place for those honors.
Antetokounmpo is an athlete the likes of which the league has rarely, if ever, seen. He can handle the ball up top, dunk on anyone, and play defense all over the floor. And he does it with a sort of pure attitude that makes him almost impossible not to love. His work ethic and discipline, which extend right to his pregame routines, has paid off in a big way and contrasts the behavior of so many of the league's more eccentric but less skilled players.
Giannis has even worked to keep his name out of the spotlight to focus on basketball, as he declined the opportunity to take part in Space Jam 2 alongside LeBron James. That appearance would have done wonders for Giannis' brand, but wouldn't have helped him in his ultimate goal of winning championships. And while there will be plenty of other opportunities for Giannis to be in the spotlight off of the court, his willingness to forgo those things and the checks that can come with them is admirable at this stage of his career where he has so much room to develop.
Players are often praised for playing and acting the right way at the expense of others, but that isn't the case here. Giannis Antetokounmpo is just an immensely likable player who is on the verge of his first MVP award, leading his team to a more than decent shot at a place in the NBA Finals. And there is still plenty of room for him to get better, which should be a scary thought for the rest of the league.