(Athens, Greece) – Giannis Antekokounmpo, nicknamed the “Greek Freak” by fans, has confirmed that he will play on the Greek team during the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, or OQT, which will be taking place in Turin. Currently, Antekokounmpo plays in the NBA on the Milwaukee Bucks. He met with the team on Thursday to let them know that he wanted to play for Greece in this summer’s Olympic Games, which will be held in Brazil. After his team gave the okay, he confirmed on his Instagram account that he will be available to play for Greece during the qualifying games. He was added to the roster for the qualifying round shortly after confirming his availability.
Antekokounmpo has a history of playing for the Greek national basketball team for the past two years. In 2014 he participated in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, which took place in Spain, and the EuroBasket in 2015, which took place in France and Croatia. Although he wanted to add the Olympic Games to his growing list of accomplishments, the Greek team needs to qualify in Turin, first. During these qualifiers, Greece will play both Iran and Mexico in Group A and then if they advance they will face Croatia, Italy, and Tunisia in Group B. The sole winner of these qualifying games will clinch a spot in Rio de Janeiro.
The Greek preliminary squad will have 16 men on it and will also include Giannis’ older brother, Thanasis, who was a draft pick for the New York Nicks. The Greek squad is still looking to solidfy their roster, especially after having lost Kostas Papanikkolaou to an ankle injury. The coach, Fotis Katsikaris, has het to name a replacement player who will take over his spot. The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will take place from August 5 – 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.