The disappearing act of the Greek Freak (part 2)
Giannis Antetokounmpo will not play at Eurobasket next week due to an injury. The Greek Freak released a statement via Facebook and Instagram this weekend that he is not ready to play for his country. Antetokounmpo wrote:’I want everybody to be informed that I will not be able to play for the Greece national team in the upcoming Eurobasket…this is by far the biggest disappointment that I have felt until now in my career. I want to wish the best from the bottom of my heart to my teammates and coaches.’ On his Facebook post Antetokounmpo said he experienced excessive pain in his knee.
The basketball federation of Greece is furious their star will not play at Eurobasket next week. According to the federation the NBA and the Milwaukee Bucks have an ‘organized and well-staged plan’ to prevent Antetokounmpo from playing in the tournament. The Greek have a point. Antetokounmpo suddenly interrupted training camp with his national team teammates last week for a 5-day promotional tour to China last week. Antetokounmpo attended a basketball tournament in Shanghai, not as a player, but as an NBA ambassador.
He would have returned to the national team on Sunday. In China Antetokounmpo was examined by a medical team of the Milwaukee Bucks as a minor knee injury forced him to miss a four-team tournament in his home country in July. In China, without consulting the Greek federation, it was decided Antetokounmpo could not participate in Eurobasket 2017. Although the injury is considered minor, as the NBA season is only two months away, it is in Milwaukee’s best interest he uses his time of to heal.
The Greek think Antetokounmpo was forced to withdraw from the tournament by the Bucks. The Greek federation: ’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 it is not surprising.’
This statement was countered by a statement from the NBA Saturday night. ’Giannis has an injury that has been confirmed through multiple examinations and any suggestion to the contrary is false.’
Giannis himself had a last word in this soap opera. ‘I urge the fans to not give bigger proportions to my absence and to concentrate on the players who will fight in the upcoming Eurobasket for a success that has been missing for years. History is written by those who are present and I have with a great sorrow to accept and announce that I will be absent.’