ESPN: Markkanen To Fullfill Time In Finnish Military This Summer
Apr 6, 2023, 1:24 PM
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz All-Star Lauri Markkanen will fulfill his requirement to serve time in the Finnish military this summer.
According to ESPN, military service is mandatory for Finnish men and must be completed by the time they’re 30 years old.
The soon-t0-be 26-year-old told ESPN he’ll use this summer to fulfill his duties.
“It’s mandatory, we have to do it, but at the same time we take pride in it, too,” Markkanen told ESPN. “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.”
Utah’s @MarkkanenLauri to fulfill mandatory military service in Finland this offseason. “I think it sets an example to serve,” he told ESPN. “And I’m confident I can do it in a way that it’s not going to affect my preparation for next season.” https://t.co/zd3mdejv1z
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) April 6, 2023
It’s a significant change from Markkanen’s summer last year when he had a breakout performance at the EuroBasket tournament.
Playing for the Finnish national team, Markkanen averaged 28 points and eight rebounds during the tournament, including a 43-point outing in an upset over Croatia.
With the Jazz season on the brink of ending, Markkanen could see his service begin before the end of April.
According to ESPN, the forward could return to Finland as soon as April 17 for service, or wait until July.
“Of course I’d rather be working out like I normally do [in the offseason],” Markkanen told ESPN. “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.”
In an article from BasketNews published in 2021, “Professional athletes are designated to serve in a special ‘Sports School’ unit that is meant to help athletes train while completing their military service.”
It added, “The shortest military service to be fulfilled for an athlete is 165 days.”
Markkanen is averaging a career-high 25.6 points, to go with 8.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on 49 percent shooting from the floor and 39 percent shooting from three.
Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.