Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has committed to playing for the Greek national team at EuroBasket 2022 later this summer, Hellenic Basketball Federation president Vaggelis Liolios confirmed on Friday. In addition, Bucks assistant coach Josh Oppenheimer will join as an assistant coach.
Giannis appeared to confirm the news himself on social media when he posted a picture wearing the Greek national team shorts and captioned it with multiple emojis that included a “soon” arrow and the Greek flag.
EuroBasket is a quadrennial tournament contested between the national teams of European countries. This upcoming edition was supposed to be played in 2021, but when the 2020 Olympics were delayed a year due to COVID-19, EuroBasket was pushed back as well. It will now be played from Sept. 1-18, with group stage games in the Czech Republic, Georgia, Italy and Germany. The knockout stage will be held entirely in Germany.
Greece has been drawn into Group C along with Italy, Croatia, Ukraine, Great Britain and Estonia. Each team will play each other once in the group stage, with the top four teams advancing to the knockout rounds. From there, it’s a single-elimination tournament.
This will be the 17th straight EuroBasket appearance for Greece, but while they have been historically successful — champions in 2005 and 1987, runner-up in 1989 — they have not medaled in over a decade. In the most recent tournament in 2017, they were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Russia.
With Giannis now committed to playing in the tournament, Greece will be hoping to improve on that finish and get back among the medals. The two-time NBA MVP will also be looking for some personal redemption on the international stage. His last appearance with Greece was the 2019 FIBA World Cup, where he had some notably sub-par performances and the team failed to even make the knockout stage.