LONDON (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) - Greece have been dealt a major blow less than two weeks out from the Group A opener against Iceland, with Giannis Antetokounmpo announcing via his social media that he will miss the tournament with injury.
Antetokounmpo, who was expected to be the leader of the Greek national team this summer at the FIBA EuroBasket 2017, made the announcement on his social media account just hours prior to Greece taking on Great Britain in a preparation game in the Copper Box Arena in London.
In the heartfelt letter, posted in Greek, Antetokounmpo, who has been struggling with injury throughout the preparation period admitted to trying to 'fool' himself into not feeling the pain he is in, in a bid to represent his country for a fifth consecutive summer, beginning with FIBA U20 European Championship 2013 in Estonia.
'This is by far the biggest disappointment that I have felt so far in my career. I want to wish the best from the bottom of my heart to my teammates and coaches,' he went on to say in the letter. 'The national team is my favorite team and in the future I will prove together with my teammates that we can achieve high goals and make all the Greeks happy.'
He also had an important message for Greek fans:
'However, for now the present is the priority. I urge the fans to not give bigger proportions to my absence than the real ones and to concentrate on the players who will fight in the upcoming EuroBasket for a success that has been missing for years. History is written by those who are present and I have with great sorrow to accept and announce that I will be absent.'
The Antetokounmpo family will still likely be represented at the tournament by older brother Thanasis. Greeks can also be assured that this will be no 'Greek Tragedy' with the likes of Nick Calathes, Georgios Printezis and Ioannis Bourousis a reminder of the rich wealth of talent with in the Greek ranks.
FIBA - International Basketball Federation published this content on 19 August 2017 and is solely responsible for the information contained herein.
Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 19 August 2017 18:32:06 UTC.