NewslettersSign inAPP
spainSPAINchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA


Why isn’t Giannis Antetokounmpo playing for Greece at the 2023 FIBA World Cup?

Despite their being one Antetokounmpo brothers playing for Greece at the World Cup, it’s not the 34 of Giannis but the 43 of Thanisis.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34)
Bill StreicherUSA TODAY Sports

Greece fans were dealt a major blow in the run up to the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup and despite being considered as long shots to lift the winners trophy next month, the news that star player Giannis Antetokounmpo would be absent was a major setback. The Milwaukee Bucks star underwent a ‘cleanup’ procedure on his knee about two weeks ago and is now in the process of recovery.

NBA player and co-owner Giannis Antetokounmpo of Nashville SC
Full screen
NBA player and co-owner Giannis Antetokounmpo of Nashville SC TIM NWACHUKWUAFP

Earlier this month, Giannis confirmed most Greece fans fears when he posted a message via Instagram confirming that he would miss the competition.

“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. 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.”

One Antetokounmpo playing for Greece

Older brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo is in the Greek side and the Bucks player was involved in the opening game as the European side eased by Jordan with the small forward playing for 18 minutes of the opener.

Mikal Bridges of the U.S. in action with Greece's Thanasis Antetokounmpo
Full screen
Mikal Bridges of the U.S. in action with Greece's Thanasis Antetokounmpo LISA MARIE DAVIDREUTERS

Thanasis also featured in the Group C defeat to Team USA but had a night to forget as he only managed to score two points despite being on the court for more than 22 minutes. The older Antetokounmpo brother also contrived to miss four consecutive free throws for the European side.