Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo to Play for Greece National Team at 2022 EuroBasket

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 22, 2022

David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo will play for Greece's national team at the 2022 EuroBasket tournament in September.

Vaggelis Liolios, president of the Hellenic Basketball Federation, confirmed the news Friday. In addition, Bucks assistant Josh Oppenheimer will join the Greek team's staff under head coach Dimitrios Itoudis.

The 27-year-old Athens native hinted at the decision Wednesday on Twitter:

Giannis Antetokounmpo @Giannis_An34

🔜🇬🇷🙏🏽 <a href="https://t.co/zvDyDHhqjv">pic.twitter.com/zvDyDHhqjv</a>

Antetokounmpo last played for Greece at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, where the team was eliminated on a tiebreaker in the second round.

He missed the Olympic qualifying tournament last summer, which took place at the same time as the NBA playoffs because of the delayed schedule amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the team lost to Czech Republic in the qualifying final to fall short of the Tokyo Games.

In June, Itoudis said the team was working to secure a commitment from the two-time NBA MVP for EuroBasket.

"It is a great advantage for Greece to have Giannis," the Greek coach said.

Antetokounmpo's involvement will make the country one of the top contenders heading into the tournament, which will take place across four countries in Europe and culminate with the final in Germany.

The "Greek Freak" is coming off a season with the Bucks where he averaged 29.9 points, 11.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals across 67 appearances. He finished third in MVP voting behind the Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic and Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid.

Jokic has committed to play in EuroBasket for Serbia, another pre-tournament favorite.

Giannis and Greece start play Sept. 2 when they battle Croatia in pool play. Group C also features Italy, Ukraine, Great Britain and Estonia.


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