It came out early last month that Giannis Antetokounmpo had a cleanup procedure on his left knee in mid-June, addressing some loose cartilage that nagged him all season (recall that his left knee was also the one he famously hyperextended in the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals). In light of this, many Bucks fans were hoping he’d take it easy the remainder of the summer and skip the FIBA World Cup, which tees off later this month. Many Greek fans—including the ones who are Bucks fans as well—understandably wanted him to play in hopes of bringing their homeland its second-ever medal.
Speculation went both ways in recent weeks but odds seemed to favor that he would sit. This morning, though, we got our answer from the man himself:
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.— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) August 11, 2023
But after months of work and multiple… pic.twitter.com/1uhTlfNZVE
Apparently, you can tweet/Xeet more than 150 characters now. Anyway, in consultation with medical teams from both the Bucks and Greek national teams, Giannis will sit the World Cup out. He reportedly came back stateside recently for additional testing on the knee and unlike in previous years, it appears the franchise and Giannis himself both worked alongside their Hellenic counterparts to arrive at this decision. Still, Giannis attests that he didn’t have much choice in the matter based on the status of the knee.
There will still be Antetokounmpos in blue and white when the action kicks off in the Philippines, however. The recently re-signed Thanasis will still appear for Greece as the team’s only current NBA player. Younger brother Kostas should be there too, although he too hasn’t practiced with the national squad yet. Greece happens to be in the same group as the US national team—featuring Bobby Portis—so the Bucks will still be represented well among the squads overseas. Naturally, this will make it much easier for the Americans to advance to the knockout stages: Greece was the highest-ranked team in their group, clearly because of Giannis.
Meanwhile, Greek fans will be hoping—like all of us—for a healthy season that will permit Giannis to partake in the 2024 Paris Olympics, for which the Hellas (or is that only what the soccer team is called? Let me know, Greek commenters) have yet to qualify. As of now, there’s no indication that Giannis won’t be ready for the start of the Bucks’ training camp in early October.