In a positive development for the Greek national team and the FIBA World Cup at large, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is on his country’s preliminary roster for the international tournament despite a recent procedure to clean up loose cartilage in his left knee.
Antetokounmpo, 28, a two-time MVP and 2021 NBA champion with the Bucks, and his brothers Thanasis and Kostas were a part of Team Greece’s 22-man roster released this week. Teams may only carry 12 players for the World Cup, which begins Aug. 25, but Antetokounmpo’s presence on the extended roster means there is at least a chance he will suit up.
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Greece is in the same pool as Team USA, and is also slated to play the Americans in an exhibition on Aug. 18 in Abu Dhabi. With Antetokounmpo, the Greeks would easily be the Americans’ toughest test in the early stages of the tournament. New Zealand and Jordan are the other two teams in the pool; Team USA and Greece are scheduled to play each other on Aug. 28 in the Philippines.
Antetokounmpo underwent a minor surgical procedure to repair some damage on his left knee earlier this summer and missed multiple playoff games because of a back injury during the Bucks’ surprising first-round exit.
He played for Greece in the 2019 World Cup in China, and again last summer as part of EuroBasket. He previously told The Athletic it was a goal of his to lead Greece to a World Cup title, and said he thought there was enough talent on the roster to do so. His inclusion on any roster for this summer leaves open the possibility that he will get that chance.
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