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Markkanen to spend offseason fulfilling mandatory military training in Finland

With new rules on marijuana, gambling and investing in women’s basketball, the NBA’s new CBA holds opportunity but also potential pitfalls. BFA also discusses how race underscores reaction to the women’s title game.

Finland is one of the nations around the globe with compulsory military training and/or service (Isreal, Sweeden, and Norway are among the others), and it applies to everyone under 30 in the country.

Including professional basketball players such as the Jazz’s Lauri Markkanen, who is Finnish. He talked about fulfilling his service requirement with Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
“It’s mandatory, we have to do it, but at the same time we take pride in it, too,” said Markkanen, 25. “I think it sets an example to serve. And I’m confident I can do it in a way that it’s not going to affect my preparation for next season, either.”

Markkanen will fulfill his service hours at a program specifically designed for high-level athletes in Finland who have training schedules to adhere to.

Markkanen postponed his service while he was in college at the University of Arizona and when he had commitments to the Finnish national team. Last season he intended to serve, but the Cavaliers made the play-in tournament and that conflicted with the reporting date.

“Of course I’d rather be working out like I normally do [in the offseason], but I’ve heard they do a good job of combining the two. You’re able to do your job working as an athlete and your basic training at the same time.”

Markkanen is the betting favorite to win Most Improved Player, he is -300 at our partner PointsBet (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is second at +200). Markkanen has had his best season as a pro, averaging 25.6 points per game while shooting 39.1% from 3 and grabbing 8.6 rebounds a night.

None of which should — or will — exempt him from required duty to his nation. That nation officially joined NATO this week and shares an 830-mile border with Russia — Finland, understandably, takes its national defense seriously.

Markkanen’s summer plans will not impact the Jazz offseason, as Danny Ainge continues to remake the team’s roster.