Salute to patriots

Salute to patriots Salute to patriots

There were 19 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament players on NBA opening-day rosters last season. Thats not counting those with previous NBA experience. Its a tribute to the NBA players for answering the call of national duty, coming off the rigors of a grueling campaign. A glowing example is Slovenias Luka Doncic who saw action for Dallas in the recent NBA Finals and played in the OQT in Piraeus, Greece.

Others who were on opening-day rosters and played in the OQTs were Greeces Giannis Antetokounmpo (despite missing the NBA playoffs with an injury), Lithuanias Domas Sabonis and Azuolas Tubelis, Angolas Bruno Fernando, BahamasDeandre Ayton, Eric Gordon and Buddy Hield, Croatias Dario Saric and Ivica Zubac, Dominican Republics Chris Duarte, Georgias Goga Bitadze and Sandro Mamukelashvili, Italys Danilo Gallinari, Latvias Davis Bertans, Montenegros Nikola Vucevic, Slovenias Vlatko Cancar and Spains Santiago Aldama and Usman Garuba.

Brazils Gui Santos was not on an NBA opening-day roster but managed to play in 23 games with the Golden State Warriors last season. He was one of seven Brazil players with NBA creds. The others were Cristiano Felicio, Didi Louzada, Marcelinho Huertas, Raul Neto, Joao Cardoso and Bruno Caboclo. Of Brazils 12 players, 10 play as imports in overseas leagues.

NBA players who skipped the OQT because of injuries include Latvias Kristaps Porzingis, Croatias Bojan Bogdanovic and Italys Simone Fontecchio who all underwent surgery in the offseason. Finlands Lauri Markkanen wouldve played if not for a right shoulder injury. New Zealands Steven Adams sat out the last NBA season recovering from right knee surgery and is still recuperating. Spains Ricky Rubio opted out of the OQT, claiming hes not 100 percent. He also ruled out joining Spain in the Paris Olympics.

A notable OQT absentee was Lithuanias Jonas Valanciunas who just signed a three-year $30.3 million contract with the Washington Wizards. He was in the process of negotiating a deal during preparations for the OQT and promised to join Lithuania if qualified for Paris. Too bad Lithuania lost to Puerto Rico for the Olympic ticket in the OQT. Cameroons Pascal Siakam agreed to a four-year $189.5 million contract with the Indiana Pacers three weeks before the OQT but never went to Latvia.

Miamis Javier Jaquez couldve played for Mexico in the OQT but didnt. Hes not injured and no reason was given as to why he skipped. Bostons Al Horford and Minnesotas Karl Anthony Towns wouldve made a difference for the Dominican Republic in the OQT but both were missing in action. Croatias Luka Samanic, who played in 43 games with Utah last season, also skipped the OQT.

Players, regardless of their status, should show patriotism when called to suit up for the national team. Taking a rest to go on vacation isnt a legitimate reason unless a player is recovering from injury. The worst case of a national traitor is Joel Embiid who couldve been the game-changer for Cameroon in the OQT but chose to be a naturalized player for the US in the Paris Olympics.

  • https://www.msn.com/en-ph/sports/other/salute-to-patriots/ar-BB1pGFHR?ocid=00000000

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