Newly installed MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on Friday said he appreciated winning the ultimate individual award, and his team's failure in the postseason shoudn't take the shine away from that honor.
Antetokounmpo, as expected, was named league MVP for a second straight year.
The announcement came days after his Milwaukee Bucks were bounced in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, a result that raised critics' eyebrows.
The Bucks do-it-all forward said he felt frustration over how Milwaukee's season ended.
"Obviously I would love to be still in the bubble playing games, fighting," Antetokounmpo said. "But at the end of the day I won the award. I'm extremely blessed.
"It's been a long journey," he added. "The people that know me, the people that know my story, you can never take these moments for granted."
Antetokounmpo averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists in leading the Bucks to the best regular-season record in the pandemic-disrupted season.
But he had to watch from the sidelines as the Heat won game five of their semi-final series, nursing a sprained ankle suffered in game three and aggravated in game four.
'I want to be a champion'
"Obviously, I am disappointed to not be able to help our team go to the third round," he said. "That feeling cannot take away from this award.
"I'm happy for this award, but I want more," he said. "I want to be a champion."
As a veteran entering his eighth season, Antetokounmpo will be eligible to receive a supermax contract extension from the Bucks.
The Bucks reportedly plan to extend that offer as soon as they can -- after the 2019-20 season officially ends.
There has been widespread speculation as to whether a player of Antetokounmpo's stature will be happy to remain in the small market of Milwaukee.
He met with Bucks owners including Marc Lasry before heading to Greece and has indicated he'd be open to staying.
Providing he's convinced the team is determined to invest the resources to pursue a title, Antetokounmpo said Friday, "I don't see why not to be in Milwaukee for the next 15 years." -- With a report from Agence France-Presse