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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 26 August 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 26 AUGUST 2017 25 SPORT Greece accuses NBA of trying to keep Antetokounmpo from Eurobasket The NBA has responded to the Hellenic Basketball Federation, denying its claims Giannis Antetokounmpo PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES VIA PRESSHUB.GR The Milwaukee Bucks have come under fire from the Hellenic Basketball Federation (EOK) amid accusations they have been plotting to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo from playing in this year's Eurobasket. It's no secret there were high hopes for the star basketballer to help Greece win their first gold in the European championships since 2005. However a knee injury that surfaced while training with the national team in Greece has forced the 22-year-old to sit out, with the Bucks mak- ing the call he sit out for the rest of the off-season. According to reports, Antetokounmpo reported the injury to his NBA team who then contacted the Greek national team with a request he stop on-court running and jumping to rest. Then while in China for an appearance, the Bucks' strength and conditioning coach Suki Hobson put the forward through a series of exercises to evaluate his knee and reported that he was still "experiencing significant pain on basic movements," the Bucks said, at which point the team's doctor recommended he return to Milwaukee. On Saturday, Antetokoumpo took to Facebook and released a statement saying he would be unavailable to play for Greece. Due to the lack of formality in the announcement however, the EOK has expressed its suspicions. "The simultaneous report by the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo himself, by phone and social media from faraway China, and not by the appropriate official manner, of his in- Spartans lose final Team to refocus, recruit new players and bounce back for the 2018 season In cold wintery conditions on Saturday at their home ground Rathmines Reserve, the Spartans sadly lost their preliminary final to South Mornington by 53 points in front of their largest crowd for the season. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong: injuries to key play- ers x 10, losing a player injured in the warm up, losing their number one ruckman in the first quarter, losing two sides at full strength, and also losing another key player in the first quarter. It was just a bad two weeks at the office. 1st Qtr Spartans 1.0.6 to 2.2.14 2nd Qtr Spartans 1.2.8 to 4.7.31 3rd Qtr Spartans 1.4.10 to 8.10.58 4th Qtr Spartans 4.5.29 to 11.16.82 (final score) Goalkickers: Adrian Gileno 1, Joe Giorgini 1, Con Pana 1, and Tom White 1. Gileno won the goalkicking award for the Spartans team and in the VAFA competition. Best: Nick Criticos, James Maddock, Con Pana, Joe Giorgini, Tom De Wit, and William Cowie. The Spartans have played in seven consecutive final series; six consecutive grand finals and have won three premierships. ability to join the national men's team saddens us ... but is not surprising," the statement read. "A series of indications ... had convinced us of the existence of an organised and wellstaged plan by [Antetokounmpo's NBA] team, with the full knowledge if not encouragement of the NBA that put the athlete on the spot and forced him to announce today that he is no longer part of the men's national team." Meanwhile the Federation's general secretary Takis Tsagronis on ERT said that they had not uncovered any issue with the player's knee. "We, on our side, did everything not to give the Bucks an excuse," Mr Tsagronis said. "We took a magnetic scan of Giannis' leg, and it was clean. What the Bucks claim is not the reality; something else is happening." The NBA however has disputed Greece's claims and released a statement in defence of the Bucks' decision. "The NBA and the Milwaukee Bucks have followed all appropriate protocol under the NBA-FIBA agreement," said the NBA. "Giannis has an injury that has been confirmed through multiple examinations, and any suggestion to the contrary is false." Antetokounmpo was scheduled to return to Milwaukee this week where he will begin daily treatment and rehab for Bucks' training camp in just over five weeks. The player has been showing big promise in the NBA, having signed a four-year US$100 million contract extension with the Bucks. Last season he averaged 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.6 steals per game.
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