Giannis Antetokounmpo said last week he can’t wait to play for Greece at the EuroBasket next September. “Taking it day by day. But, I can’t wait,” he said in his Twitter account.
Taking it day by day. But I can’t wait 💪🏾🔥🇬🇷 https://t.co/I08HlPUAuM
— Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) September 3, 2021
Greece ended up one game short of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, falling to the Czech Republic in a qualifying tournament championship game on July 4.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was not playing for Greece in that game because his Milwaukee Bucks were preparing for the NBA Finals, which started a couple of days later. However, the best player on the Greek team — and maybe in the world — is looking ahead, and hinted on Twitter he plans to play in the Eurobasket.
Giannis Antetokounmpo playing for Greece in the FIBA 2019 World Cup
Greece may be among favorites with Antetokounmpo
The EuroBasket 2022 will be the 41st annual EuroBasket championships, organized by FIBA Europe. The tournament was originally scheduled to take place between September 2019, 2021, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics to 2021, it has been postponed to September 1-18, 2022.
Like the previous two editions, the tournament will be co-hosted by four countries. Games in the group stage will be held in the Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, and Italy. The knock-out phase will be played in Berlin, Germany.
Greece, currently ranked sixth in the FIBA World Rankings, has appeared eight times at the FIBA World Cup, with their best performance being in 2006 as runners-up, after beating the United States 101–95 in the tournament’s semifinal. Greece is the only national team in the world to have defeated the United States during Mike Krzyzewski’s era (2005–2016), as the latter had an undefeated record both before and after the 2006 FIBA World Cup semifinal, all major competitions included.
They have also reached the EuroBasket, winning it twice, in 1987 beating the Soviet Union 103–101 in the final in Athens, and in 2005 defeating Germany convincingly by the score of 78–62 in the final in Belgrade.
Having Milwaukee Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo in its squad, Greece may become one of the favorites for the 2022 EuroBasket.
Recently, Antetokounmpo climbed Athens’ most iconic landmark at the Acropolis to salute the brothers’ love of their country with basketball’s most coveted piece of hardware, the NBA trophy. “We’re going to take it everywhere, to Sepolia, Zografou, to all the places we grew up in,” Antetokounmpo said, proudly referring to the trophy they brought with them.
The Greek Freak has now also bought a stake in the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team.
“This is a dream come true for a kid from Sepolia, Athens, Greece, born from immigrant parents. I could have never imagined I would be in this position,” said Antetokounmpo at a news conference announcing his involvement. He was wearing a number 34 Brewers jersey, the same iconic number he wears with the Milwaukee Bucks.