Giannis Antetokounmpo Will Not Play in EuroBasket and Greece Isn't Happy


So what’s a major story from an international landscape as Giannis Antetokounmpo announced he won’t play for Greece in EuroBasket, which resulted in Greece calling out the Bucks for their pressure for him not to play. That’s a somewhat major claim in international basketball as Giannis isn’t playing due to a knee injury.

A few hours after Giannis announced he won’t play, the Greece Basketball Federation put out this statement (translated from Greek):

“The simultaneous report by the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo himself, by phone and social media from faraway China, and not by the appropriate official manner, of his inability to join the national men’s team saddens us … but is not surprising… A series of indications … had convinced us of the existence of an organized and well-staged plan by (the Bucks), with the full knowledge if not encouragement of the NBA that put the athlete on the spot and forced him to announce today that he is no longer part of the men’s national team.”

The big thing here to remember is while NBA teams don’t love their guys playing for international teams, they can’t stop them from playing if they are healthy. Giannis and the Bucks are both maintaining the fact this was his decision and his decision alone. In fairness to him and the Bucks, Giannis did miss all but one game in the tune-ups leading up to EuroBasket.

EuroBasket begins August 31 with games being played in Finland, Israel, Turkey and Romania. There are 24 teams competing for the EuroBasket title, with six teams across four groups. Following group play, the top 4 teams from each group advance to the 16-team knockout round. Spain is the recent champs, winning their 3rd title, beating Lithuania 80-63 in 2015. Greece was expected to contend with Giannis playing, but some of the favorites will be familiar names like Lithuania, Spain, France and Serbia.

Giannis is expected to have his $100 million contract extension kick in next year, so you can see as to why he and the Bucks are being cautious with this. Regardless, EuroBasket is one of the best international events out there and I’ll have a full preview on it, but if you can make sure to watch.