Giannas Antetokounmpo MVP Speech (4-minute read)

Just a little over 24 hours since Giannis Antetokounmpo gave his emotional, first-ever MVP speech at the NBA Awards in Santa Monica, California, the dust has finally settled. But the feeling and tug on our hearts still remain. This is truly what whyiball™ is all about.

All starting with the words, “First of all,” Giannas, the 24 year-old, basketball phenom from Greece, began by giving thanks to God. Gratitude can be so often lost in the shuffle and distractions of our world, but there’s no doubt his sense of appreciation for those around him had truly made an impact on who he sees himself as today, along with the person he sees himself still striving to become.


As Giannis later mentioned as motivation, “Even though when my body’s sore. Even when I don’t feel like playing, I’m always gonna show up and do the right thing.”  In 2017, Giannis’ father, Charles Antetokounmpo, passed away from a heart attack at the age of 54.  And even through the adversity and struggle that comes with such a loss, he expressed that he (thinks about his father) for motivation - along with the support of his family, teammates, fans, and country to keep going and keep pushing.


I’m not sure how many people out there reading have lost someone so near and dear to their hearts, or know what it’s like trying to keep pushing even after that person’s true, physical presence and encouragement are gone - but it can be quite daunting to process. Having lost my father two short years ago and now having experienced this pure and heartfelt expressions from Giannas, I’m encouraged and reminded to always reconnect with my “why” and what I’m working for - that, for me, being my Dad, my Lola, my nephew, the rest of my family, friends, myself, and so much more.


My vision for whyiball™ is to serve as a platform to share our stories, remind us all of why we ball, and pay homage to those who have come before us, and to the future generations that come after.  I’m so grateful everyone who has rocked with us from the start, and just as Giannas said, “This is only the beginning.” Thanks so much for reading and if you haven’t checked out his speech yet, you can find the link for it here —>


What kinds of things do you do to remind your self of your “why” or other ways you find encouragement to keep pushing through adversity? Please leave your responses in the comments section below.


Love and hoops,
Michael Williams II
Founder @whyiball | @heymikefrancis


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