The Milwaukee Bucks have approved the request of Giannis Antetokounmpo to play for his native Greece as the country makes a run at qualifying for the Summer Olympics.
Antetokounmpo will play in Olympic qualifiers for the Greek National Team in Group Play on July 4 and 6. Two teams will advance to the semifinals against two teams from another group and the survivor of the final on July 9 claims an Olympic berth in Rio de Janeiro.
Antetokounmpo displayed his appreciation on his Instagram account:
"The decision was made! I can't never leave your side I'll be there for you! #BucksThankYou"
The 6-foot-11 Antetokounmpo is an emerging NBA star after averaging 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in his third season. The 21-year-old started games at small forward and shooting guard before finishing the season as the point guard.
His stellar season actually complicated matters as he is set to make less than $3 million during the 2016-17 campaign. The Bucks can offer him an extension between July 1 and Oct. 31.
Antetokounmpo figures to be in line to sign a five-year deal worth upwards of $20 million annually.
Antetokounmpo's older brother, Thanasis, also plays for Greece. The 23-year-old briefly played for the New York Knicks last season.