Giannis Antetokounmpo turned in a perfect performance – literally – during Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta. The Milwaukee Bucks’ star made all 16 of his shots, including three 3-pointers, and led all scorers in the game with 35 points.
The Greek Freak’s record-breaking night in the game played at State Farm Arena earned him the Kobe Bryant MVP Award. Antetokounmpo is the first Bucks player to be named All-Star Game MVP.
His 16 made shots without a miss is the best performance ever in an All-Star game, shattering the mark established by Hal Greer of the Philadelphia 76ers, who went 8-for-8 in the 1968 All-Star game, according to Elias Sports.
After making his first 15 shots, Antetokounmpo pulled up for a 3-pointer in the third quarter, a shot that the TNT announcers feared would ruin his perfect night.
As Antetokounmpo rose up for the shot, TNT analyst Reggie Miller shouted “No! No! No!” When Antetokounmpo, who is not known for his long-range shooting prowess, banked in the shot, Miller screamed: “Oh, Yes! Yes! Yes!”
Antetokounmpo never took another shot, preserving his perfect performance.
TNT’s on-court reporter Allie LaForce joked with Antetokounmpo about the shot after the game, saying she thought the bank wasn’t open on Sundays.
“Usually it is closed (on Sundays),” Antetokounmpo said. “But for me, it was open extended hours.”
Antetokounmpo was all smiles during and after the game and appeared to truly enjoy the experience.
After making a corner 3-pointer earlier in the game, Antetokounmpo and All-Star teammate Nikola Jokić of the Denver Nuggets galloped down the court together in celebration.
Criticism had been leveled at the NBA by Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James for holding the game during a compressed 72-game regular-season schedule and just two months after the months-delayed conclusion to the 2019-20 season. With the country still in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, attendance was limited to 1,500 fans at the 17,000-seat arena.
Antetokounmpo played on a team captained James, which cruised to a 170-150 win over a team led by Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets.
When asked after the game about what he enjoyed most about the experience, he was quick to say that having his young son, Liam, in attendance served as his biggest highlight.
“Definitely, my son. This is the first time he’s come to watch me play in the All-Star game. It’s just fun to have family around,” Antetokounmpo said, flashing a broad smile.
Giannis (35 PTS, 16-16 FGM) talks about winning his first NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award and the joy of playing in the All-Star Game in front of family. ♥️ #NBAAllStar #KiaAllStarMVP pic.twitter.com/AWLX5q2cl6— NBA (@NBA) March 8, 2021
Antetokounmpo also gave a shoutout to his home city during a comical post-game moment.
“Milwaukee, this is for you,” he growled as he hoisted the MVP trophy over his head.
Antetokounmpo joins Michael Jordan and Kevin Garnett as the only players to win an MVP, All-Star Game MVP and Defensive Player of the Year award in their careers.