Giannis Antetokounmpo joined a list of NBA stars who will miss the FIBA World Cup, saying he is not ready to compete for Greece after meetings with medical staff.
“Everyone knows my passion and love for my National Team has and never will change,” was posted on Antetokounmpo’s social media. “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. But after months of work and multiple meetings with medical staff it is clear that i am not ready to compete in the level that I need to be to participate in the World Cup. 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. I am extremely disappointed in this outcome but this was a decision made with the medical staff. I’m going to continue to push myself to be ready for the next time my name is called. My personal, and our ultimate team goal is to qualify for the 2024 Olympics games and it will be an honor to represent my National Team next year.”
Antetokounmpo, 28, is a two-time NBA MVP for the Milwaukee Bucks. He played for the Greek national team at the 2019 FIBA World Cup (11th place) and 2022 European Championship (fifth).
The top two European nations at the World Cup, which begins Aug. 25, qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Those that do not qualify at the World Cup can get another chance at one of four, winner-take-all, last-chance qualifying tournaments next year, likely in June.
In 2021, Greece, without Antetokounmpo as he was playing in the NBA playoffs, lost a winner-goes-to-the-Olympics game against the Czech Republic. Greece’s men’s basketball team last qualified for the Olympics in 2008.
The top two teams from that group advance to the second group phase, where the top two teams per group advance to the quarterfinals.
The U.S. roster includes zero players with Olympic or World Cup experience and zero players who have made an All-NBA team.