MNO Sports >Cycling Trails >Giannis Antetokounmpo focused on qualifying Greece national team for Olympics, not thinking about Team USA - CBSSports.com

Giannis Antetokounmpo focused on qualifying Greece national team for Olympics, not thinking about Team USA - CBSSports.com

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Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks has represented Greece in international competition many times, dating back to the FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship in 2013. But he has never played in the Olympics. Ahead of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Piraeus, Greece, Antetokounmpo told reporters that he wants to change that.

"I have never played in the Olympic Games and I really want for us to get there," Antetokounmpo said, as translated by Eurohoops. "We have the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The only incentive is qualifying, not Team USA or anything else."

The tournament, which begins on July 2, features Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, New Zealand, Dominican Republic and Egypt. Only the winner will get a spot in the Paris Olympics.

Antetokounmpo has been out of action since straining his left calf on April 9 in a regular-season game against the eventual champion Boston Celtics. After the Bucks were eliminated by the Indiana Pacers in six games in the first round of the playoffs, Antetokounmpo said that he "wasn't even close" to returning and couldn't run at full speed. Now, however, he sounds ready to go.

"I have not practiced yet, but I feel better," he said. "I cannot wait to join the training camp."

This will be Antetokounmpo's first experience playing for Vassilis Spanoulis, the Greek basketball legend who is now the head coach of the national team. Spanoulis retired as a player in 2021 and has spent the last two seasons coaching Peristeri in the Greek league.

"I think this is what the national team needs," Antetokounmpo said, "A person with many unbelievable moments for Greek basketball, from playing for the national team to Panathinaikos and Olympiacos. He has tremendous experience as a player. As a coach over the last two years, he showed what he can do."

Other familiar faces on Greece's extended roster for this training camp include Kostas Papanikolau, Nick Calathes, Kostas Sloukas, Georgios Papagiannis, Thomas Walkup and Kostas Antetokounmmpo. Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the older brother of Giannis and Kostas, will not participate, as he had surgery to repair a torn Achilles in May.

Antetokounmpo might not be the only perennial All-NBA First Team player in the qualifying tournament. Luka Doncic's status is up in the air after the Dallas Mavericks' run to the NBA Finals, during which the superstar played through several injuries.

"He will make the best decision for himself," Antetokounmpo said.

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