FIBA executive Zagklis reacts to Klay Thompson's considerations of joining the Bahamas

Donatas Urbonas
Senior Staff Writer
2023-09-10 08:06

FIBA executive Andreas Zagklis didn't want to specify Klay Thompson's case of him potentially joining the Bahamas national team.

Credit: AFP-Scanpix
Credit AFP-Scanpix

FIBA General Secretary Andreas Zagklis responded to Klay Thompson's consideration of potentially joining the Bahamas national team, even though he had previously represented Team USA in two major FIBA competitions.

"As a policy, I try to avoid commenting on individual eligibility cases. But I understand the question," he responded to BasketNews when asked what he thinks about the Golden State Warriors forward case and if FIBA is concerned that it might potentially open Pandora's box in the future.

"The rule is if you played after the age of 17, you can't change unless specific circumstances justify your change that you go back to your country of origin. There, we will look at several criteria, and one of them is how long ago you played for the other country," he added.

"I'm indirectly trying to answer your question. But I don't want to tell exactly how we dealt with that file or that file and how we will deal with the other file in the future," Zagklis explained.

"Regarding the other part of your question, yes, we're concerned in the sense that we can't use this exception, which lies with the discretion of a general secretary in order to open the Pandora's box. I have been exercising it very carefully, and I will continue doing so," he explained.

Zagklis also clarified that if players switch countries, they are granted naturalized player status, with the restriction that each national team can have no more than one naturalized player.

Klay Thompson recently announced he's seriously considering possibly joining the Bahamas to help the team secure a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

Thompson has already played for Team USA, winning the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. 

"When that time comes, I will give it serious consideration just because of what The Bahamas meant to the Thompson family, especially my father," Thompson said during his trip to the Philippines for his shoe brand ANTA. 

Klay's father, Mychal Thompson, a former NBA No. 1 overall pick, has Bahamian roots, making Klay a potentially intriguing addition to the Bahamian national team.

"My father never had a chance to play for the Bahamas because they just didn't have the chance to do so back in the 70's and the 80's", Klay Thompson added. "Now my brother Mychel is coaching with them, which is also a really nice thing. Now, I'm focused only on the upcoming NBA season, but when that time comes next summer, I'll consider the possibility."

Klay Thompson will be the second former Team USA member to join the Bahamas national team if that happens.

USA Basketball previously granted Eric Gordon's release, and FIBA approved his change of country representation due to Article 22 of its Internal Regulations. Article 22 prohibits a player from changing national team allegiance once he has participated in a major FIBA competition. 

The article can be amended at FIBA's discretion if the player joins a developing national team program and the move is deemed "in the best interest of basketball."

Gordon averaged 20.3 points for the Bahamas and helped his new team win the Olympic pre-qualifying tournament in Argentina.


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