That’s all beside the point. What in Hades are the Greeks doing by lashing out at Giannis’ decision?
Why would you risk alienating the single most important figure in Greek basketball in generations, or perhaps in history? And all for a continental tournament with no further ramifications?
We don’t yet know how Antetokounmpo will react to the Greek federation’s quick backlash to his decision. In translations of his announcement that he cannot participate, his disappointment in not being able to represent Greece is palpable. He really wanted to do this! One presumes that means he will want to participate in the future, as well, perhaps in bigger tournaments, should Greece qualify.
Giannis did play — sparingly — in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. He saw all of 14 minutes in the knockout round, where the Greeks were quickly dispatched by Serbia. Greece didn’t qualify for the 2016 Olympics despite Antetokounmpo’s good work in the 2015 EuroBasket tournament — the Olympics only take 12 teams, and it’s tough to win a spot.
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