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Giannis or Luka could play in Paris Olympics, but not both

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic

Nov 27, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) dribbles the ball up court against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) in the second half at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Greece and Slovenia were drawn in the same Olympic men’s basketball qualifying tournament, so at least one of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic will not make it to the Paris Games.

The draw put host Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, Egypt and New Zealand into the most star-studded of July’s four, winner-take-all, last-chance qualifiers to fill the last four spots in the 12-team Olympic field.

Teams that already booked Olympic spots, including the U.S., Canada and France, do not take part in the qualifying tournaments.

Greece’s men’s basketball team last qualified for the Olympics in 2008.

In 2021, Greece, without Antetokounmpo as he was playing in the NBA playoffs, lost a winner-goes-to-the-Olympics game against the Czech Republic in a last-chance qualifier.

This season’s NBA Finals will end before the Olympic qualifying tournaments.

In 2021, Doncic led Slovenia to its first Olympic basketball berth. Slovenia, with a population of 2.1 million, became the smallest nation by current population to participate in an Olympic men’s basketball tournament since Estonia and Latvia in 1936.

Then in Tokyo, Doncic averaged 23.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 9.5 assists per game. The Slovenians beat Argentina and Spain in Olympic group play, then lost in the semifinals to France and the bronze-medal game to Australia.

At this past summer’s World Cup, Greece lost in the second stage of group play. Slovenia fell to Canada in the quarterfinals.

Other NBA All-Stars who could play in July’s qualifying tournaments include Karl-Anthony Towns (Dominican Republic), Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania) and Pascal Siakam (Cameroon).