Apr 20, 2023 - Sports

NBA All-Star, reporting for military duty

markkanen reporting for duty

Lauri Markkanen reporting for duty. Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images

Lauri Markkanen just completed the best season of his career, but the Utah Jazz forward is spending his offseason very differently from his National Basketball Association peers: training in the Finnish military.

State of play: Markkanen, 25, reported on Monday for the mandatory military service that all Finnish men must complete before turning 30.

  • The seven-footer is at the Finnish Defense Forces' Sports School, which is specifically for conscripted athletes and enables sports training in addition to military training.
  • He's expected to spend roughly 165 days in training, likely split between two offseasons to avoid conflicting with the NBA.

What he's saying: "It's mandatory … 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."

The big picture: Finland is one of 49 countries with some form of mandatory military service, though it's among the few countries whose athletes have made headlines for such service.

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