My wife and I sat with anticipation during the NBA Awards last night as we waited for the winner of the MVP to be announced. We obviously had an outcome that we wanted in mind, but it was far from a sure thing.
It got loud in our house when he was announced the winner.
You see, Giannis Antetokounmpo is my favorite player. It’s not just because of the numbers he puts up or the highlights that make your jaw drop. It’s because of the way he does it.
It didn’t take long for the tears to appear both on stage and in my house. As we listened to Giannis’ speech, we could feel the raw, authentic emotions as he spoke. We were hanging on every single word even through his much-improved Greek accent and shaky voice.
Now, I know some former colleagues of mine are probably laughing at their desks at this point because they are thinking I am just going to go on and on about the Bucks and basketball (which I could all day by the way), but I do have a point.
Each and every one of us can learn something from the MVP.
Where you come from can make things more difficult, but it doesn’t make things impossible.
Giannis didn’t have all the resources that make success easy. There are stories of how he and his brother had to share a pair of shoes while playing in pro games because they didn’t have enough money to get a second pair. I can’t imagine what it was like having to face that problem and the many others he and his family had in their lives immigrating to a new country. I think that Giannis is the perfect example of someone that was able to envision where he wanted to go, and with the help of his family, he was able to go get it despite his circumstances. No matter what life has thrown at you, always dream big.
In an era where NBA players are some of the biggest superstars in the world with personalities to match, Giannis has always been that kid from Nigeria and Greece. No matter how well-known he got or how much attention he received, he has always stayed the same goofy, lovable guy that he was when he got his first smoothie in Milwaukee. This has inspired me to remember that no matter what position you have in your company, what promotion you got, or how much you make, you should always remember who you were and treat everyone with the same respect.
Value isn’t measured on paper.
For those who aren’t big NBA fans, the race for MVP was really between two people: Giannis and James Harden. While James Harden had an amazing offensive season with statistics that jumped off the page, he wasn’t voted MVP. Why? Because value isn’t measured by numbers on a page, but how you make everyone around you better. This is an important message for all of us. We all have numbers to hit, projects to complete, and goals to accomplish. While it’s tempting to just focus on those things, the value you can bring to your team is so much more than that. Making the people around you better and becoming well-rounded in every part of what you do is what can separate you from the rest.
Kindness and authenticity always win.
One thing that I have thought about a lot as I have gotten older is the phrase “Nice guys finish last.” If Giannis winning MVP doesn’t throw that out the window, I don’t know what does. At the end of the day, being kind to those around you and being yourself are the things that are going to help you succeed. And while whatever you want to achieve might not happen as fast as you want it to, when you do achieve it, it will feel that much sweeter. Always be kind to one another.
It’s a little weird an NBA player, that I have never met, winning the MVP had such an impact on me, but it did. Maybe it was because I’ve watched him grow from an 18-year-old kid who barely knew English into the player he is today. Maybe it’s because I can see the person he is, how much he loves his family, and just seems to have everything figured out. Or maybe it’s because I am just a huge Bucks fan and none of this really made sense to you.
But either way
#Giannis is the #MVP – and you can be too.