While some have criticised the new FIBA international window, Greece point guard Kostas Sloukas believes that the governing body is respecting the player’s best wishes.
The new window opens in November after being unanimously approved by all of FIBA’s National Member Federations in 2014 and revealed during Eurobasket a year later.
And while the EuroLeague have criticised the new initiative, basketball personalities like Vlade Divac and Jorge Garbajosa have approved the system and Fenerbahce guard Sloukas has now publicly given his thumbs up.
“FIBA is showing respect to the players and proving they don’t look on them as robots,” said Greek point guard Kostas Sloukas.
The changes mean that, in addition to reduced preparation commitments for national team competitions, players will also have one free summer every four years.
This, Sloukas said, is ‘a very smart decision’.
“Apart from days off, it gives players the chance to develop skills and work on the weak points of their game,” the 27-year-old states. “Players know they need to progress and they don’t have the time to do it during the season.”
Former NBA player, Kostas Papanikolaou now of Olympiacos echoed the sentiments of his Greek teammate.
“Rest is important as we are not machines,” Papanikolaou said. “If you have a day off during the season, you use it to rest. But a free summer gives us not only the chance to take a breath but to get better as individuals through personal work on skills which can’t be developed during the season.
“I think this recognizes the devotion of all the players to their national teams and it is beautiful because it will help players have more years as top-quality athletes.”
Under the old system, top players could be in year-round action with national team commitments to fulfil when the demanding club season finished.
Some players have even expressed their concern at the lack of days off, indicating this is not only potentially bad for their on-court performance but for their family and personal lives as well.
The new window ensures that this won’t happen.