Giannis Antetokounmpo is set to make his Olympic debut after leading the Greek national team to victory in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Greece secured their spot in the Paris Olympics with an 80-69 win over Croatia in the tournament final held in Piraeus, Greece, marking their first Olympic appearance in 16 years.

The Milwaukee Bucks star was visibly emotional on the court, celebrating the significant achievement. Antetokounmpo, born in Athens to Nigerian immigrant parents, has been a key player for the Greek national team for several years. Despite their past struggles in international competitions, Greece excelled in this summer’s qualifying tournament, one of four that determined the remaining teams for the Paris Olympics.

In the semifinals, Greece delivered a resounding 28-point victory over Slovenia, led by Luka Dončić. Slovenia, who finished fourth in the 2020 Olympics, will miss out on these Games. Antetokounmpo contributed 13 points in that game and followed up with a stellar performance in the final against Croatia, scoring 23 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Ivica Zubac, the longtime center for the Los Angeles Clippers, anchored the Croatian team.

Greece’s return to the Olympics is their first since 2008 when China eliminated them in the quarterfinals. Alongside Greece, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Spain also secured their spots through their respective qualifying tournaments. They joined France, the United States, Canada, Australia, South Sudan, Japan, Serbia, and Germany, who had already qualified.

Antetokounmpo had an impressive NBA season, averaging 30.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game with the Milwaukee Bucks. However, despite his standout performance, the Bucks were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season after hiring head coach Doc Rivers midseason.

In the Paris Olympics, Antetokounmpo and Greece will compete in Group A, facing tough opponents like Canada, Australia, and Spain. Their Olympic campaign begins on July 27 with a game against Canada. This milestone marks a significant moment in Antetokounmpo’s career and gives Greece an opportunity to make a strong impact on the international stage.



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