ATHENS: An emotionally-charged Giannis Antetokounmpo bid farewell and good luck to his Greece teammates on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), putting aside the controversy behind his decision to miss the Eurobasket tournament.
“I am really disappointed that I will not help the team in the upcoming Eurobasket. I do not want to say anything now about my decision,” he told sports reporters covering the national team’s training session at the indoor Athens Olympic Stadium facility.
The 24-year-old Milwaukee Bucks NBA All-Star announced Saturday in a post on Facebook that he had a knee injury that would prevent him from playing for Greece in the continental tournament that starts on August 31 and will be held in four different countries.
The NBA and the Bucks have denied a Greek Basketball Federation accusation that they plotted to keep Antetokounmpo from playing for his country.
A statement issued by the Greek federation disputed that explanation, saying they were convinced of “an organised and well-planned project by the NBA team in which Giannis plays, with full knowledge if not the encouragement of the NBA, which put the player in trouble and forced him to inform us that he is no longer a member of the national team”.
“Many articles have been written and people have said many things about my decision. I said what I had to say, no one can express the feelings I have better than me,” Antetokounmpo said.
“Right now the team is important beyond any one person. Attention should be given to the team and not me right now.”