In a significant blow to the Greek national basketball team, NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo revealed on Friday that he will not be taking part in the forthcoming FIBA World Cup. This announcement comes as he continues his recovery journey from a recent knee surgery.
A Setback, Not a Choice
In a heartfelt statement shared on social media, Antetokounmpo expressed his disappointment, stating, "After months of work and multiple meetings with medical staff, it is clear that I am not ready to compete at the level that I need to be to participate in the World Cup." He emphasized that this decision was not made lightly, but it was necessary to protect his health and future career prospects.
"This was not a choice but my only option in ensuring I get back to the level of basketball I have worked so hard to achieve so far in my career." The Greek team, while surely disappointed, likely anticipated this outcome.
Antetokounmpo's involvement had already been marked as uncertain given his absence from the team's training camp and their initial exhibition matches.
Road to Recovery
Last month, the Milwaukee Bucks confirmed that their prized player underwent a procedure to rectify an issue with his left knee, specifically to remove loose cartilage.
While this has kept him off the court, Antetokounmpo's dedication to his national team has not wavered. He articulated his sentiments, saying, "Everyone knows my passion and love for my National Team has and never will change.
Since the conclusion of my NBA season, I have been pushing my body to the limits to be the player I need to be to help our team achieve the goals we set." The recent blow is also set against a backdrop of previous disappointments.
Greece didn't manage to clinch a spot in the Tokyo Olympics, an event that Antetokounmpo has not yet had the privilege to grace. However, the NBA MVP remains undeterred. Looking ahead with optimism, he vowed, "I'm going to continue to push myself to be ready for the next time my name is called." With sights firmly set on the 2024 Olympics, Antetokounmpo concluded, "It will be an honor to represent my National Team next year."