The overwhelming number one! This is why Lauri Markkanen is the Athlete of the Year

Lauri Markkanen, who played a real breakthrough season in the NBA, was chosen as the Sportsman of the Year, as expected.

Lauri Markkanen was superior in the Athlete of the Year voting with no less than 126 first places. PDO

Lauri Markkanen was awarded Sportsperson of the Year at the Sports Gala on Thursday. Markkanes became the first Finnish basketball player to win that title.

Markkanen couldn’t pick up the award himself, because the NBA season is underway. He sent a video greeting to the gala from the United States.

– I have tried to clear a path and set an example that with passion and practice you can achieve such great things, even if this was not what you set out to achieve at the beginning of your career.

– I respect this award because I know how great role models and athletes come from Finland every year, Markkanen said.

Markkanen thanked his parents and brothers in his video greeting sent from the USA. Matti Matikainen

Markkanen was already in the speeches when making the Athlete of the Year selection at last year’s gala.

Everything should have been clear when Iivo Niskanen won the Olympic medals straight in Beijing. However, Markkanen put his spoon in the pot at the end of the year, when he started to forge a wild result in the NBA. Despite the brilliance of the September 2022 season, Markkanen finished fourth in the voting.

This time, nothing was left unclear. Now it was Markkanen’s time.

Breakthrough season

Last year, Markkanen was in the best shape of his life in every way. Since his move to Utah, he has risen to the sharpest point in the NBA.

Last season, Markkanen was twelfth in the NBA in points per game (25.6 points). In the plus-minus statistic, Markkanen was the winning player with his reading (2.5) for the Utah Jazz, who were not really expected to fight for a playoff spot.

Despite the cannon season, Utah was left out of the playoffs last season.

Markkanen’s last season culminated when he was selected for the NBA All-Star Game at the end of February. Markkanen was seen in the star match, among other things LeBron James’s, Stephen Curry’s and Luka Dončić’s alongside world stars like

In addition, the NBA chose him as the most developed player in the series, which is considered a very prestigious award in the basketball world.

Jump in

After his peak season, Markkanen jumped into conscript service in Helsinki’s Santahamina. Markkanen completed his military service at the Sports School of the Defense Forces.

In April, Iltalehti was watching on the spot when Markkanen entered the military service. The 213-centimeter basketball player got size 49 insoles on his feet.

Alokas Markkanen entered the service on a sunny day. Mia Siren

Markkanen’s military service was followed closely by the international media. A teammate in the wolf gang Mikael Jantunen told Iltalehte in August that the army was Markkanen’s number one topic of conversation.

– I’ve been avoiding those discussions for a bit, when nothing but the army comes out of it. Let’s give Lauri some time to digest the army stuff, and then we can talk, Jantunen laughed at the time.

Markkanen was discharged from military service at the end of September and went back behind the rapako.

The Utah star continued his brilliance in the fall season and the rest of the year. By January, Markkanen has scored an average of 23.5 points per game this season, which is not far from last season’s numbers. Utah is once again fighting for a playoff spot.

In addition to the athlete of the year selection, Markkanen was almost unanimously chosen as the athlete of the year in a vote by IL’s sports journalists.

Awarded at the sports gala

Breakthrough: Martti Puumalainen

The most mobile municipality: Pori

Most active workplace: Bee

Sports Manager of the Year: Erkki Alaja

Background power: Harri Syväsalmi

Young Athlete of the Year: Saga Vanninen

Model of the year: The Finnish Davis Cup team

Coach of the Year: Gordon Herbert

Career: Carl-Olaf Homen

Team of the Year: The Finnish Davis Cup team

Most touching sports moment: Murto returns Finland to the medal base

Athlete of the Year: Lauri Markkanen