“Honestly, I wanted Giannis to succeed in the NBA Playoffs. We were convinced from our trip to Milwaukee that he really wanted to play for the national team in the summer. His playing status wouldn’t be affected by extending the campaign further in the postseason. Even if he was crowned champion, he would gladly play for us,” noted Zisis, “Missing [Khris] Middleton in a best-of-seven series was a huge blow. Giannis was amazing, gave it his all, and that was apparent.”
“We are waiting for him to rest up and afterward arrange another meeting to confirm him being available [for EuroBasket],” Zisis added. Alongside the director of national teams Dimos Dikoudis, he met with Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee, in March.
A couple of Svetislav Pesic’s answers touched on European basketball superstars and Nikola Jokic’s availability for the upcoming EuroBasket 2022, via MozzartSport. “Jokic will play for the national team only under one condition, and that is to become a better player through the Serbian national team. It is not a question of whether he loves his country. That is undoubted. He is a proud Serb, who writes messages to me in Cyrillic. We have to find a way to motivate him to compete with the best players in Europe. If he is not motivated, if he has no interest, then there is no point in playing,” Pesic pointed out.
Svetislav Pesic: “There is no doubt that Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic are the best European players who have ever played in the NBA. They are changing the way players compete in the strongest league of the world. Moreover, they are constantly improving. Every year they bring something new.”
FIBA has already shown an initiative to sit behind the negotiation table with the EuroLeague while the NBA representatives are watching the situation. The NBA is believed to be the power that finally puts the conflict to bed. FIBA has contacted NBA commissioner Adam Silver regarding the opportunity, and the league’s leader has reacted affirmatively. The EuroLeague did not disregard the invitation as well.