Giannis Antetokounmpo Pulls Out Of FIBA World Cup

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NBA Player Giannis Antetokounmpo's Trip To China
BEIJING, CHINA - JULY 9: NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo attends a promotional event during his visit to China on July 9, 2023 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)

The injury withdrawal is a massive blow for Greece.

In a massive blow to the Greek National Team, Giannis Antetokounmpo has withdrawn from the team less than two weeks before the start of the FIBA World Cup in Asia. "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," Giannis wrote on social media. "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."

Giannis had undergone knee surgery earlier in the offseason to remove loose cartilage. Despite this, there was hope that he would be fit enough to play some role in the international tournament. However, the Greek National Team had tempered expectations by already listing him as doubtful. This came after he missed the team's first training camp and several exhibition games. Even so, the decision is still disappointing. Although, no one is more disappointed than Giannis himself. "Everyone knows my passion and love for my National Team has and never will change," Giannis wrote. "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."

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Greece Lose Key Player

With Giannis out, it's a much tougher road for Greece. While they don't have the toughest group (USA, Jordan, New Zealand) in Phase 1, they will definitely feel the loss of Giannis down the line. Of course, Greece has had pre-Giannis success, finishing as runners-up in 2006. However, it's a long road for Greece to secure the real prize of World Cup participation.

The true prize at the FIBA World Cup is the seven Olympic qualifying berths available. In the case of Greece, they would need to be one of the two best-performing European squads at the World Cup to secure one of those berths. Unfortunately, that task becomes a lot harder with Giannis sidelined. Greece has not finished higher than 9th in the last three tournaments. If they can't get it done in Asia, they will have to rely on an Olympic qualifying tournament next year to secure a spot in Paris. Greece have not appeared at the Olympics since the 2008 Games in Beijing.

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About The Author
Benjamin Mock (they/them) is a sports and culture writer working out of Philadelphia. Previously writing for the likes of Fixture, Dexerto, Fragster, and Jaxon, Ben has dedicated themselves to engaging and accessible articles about sports, esports, and internet culture. With a love for the weirder stories, you never quite know what to expect from their work.