Utah’s Lauri Markkanen considers it an honor to serve this summer in Finland’s military: ‘We take pride in it’

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Now that the Jazz are out for the rest of the campaign, ranking 12th in the Western Conference after 82 matches of regular season, their roster can finally rest… except for Lauri Markkanen, of course! He’s going off to serve in the Finnish military during the offseason. 

The 2023 All-Star has no choice but to fulfill his mandatory service in his nation’s army. However, for the Finnisher this is a motive of pride, not an obligation. “It’s mandatory, we have to do it, but at the same time we take pride in it, too,” he told ESPN.

“I think it sets an example to serve,” the Jazz star continued. “And I’m confident I can do it in a way that it’s not going to affect my preparation for next season, either.”

Military service in the Scandinavian country is mandatory for all males by the age of 30. This means that Markkanen, who is 25, should report to a base in Helsinki either by April 17th, or in the month of July.

“Of course, I’d rather be working out like I normally do [in the offseason], but I’ve heard they do a good job of combining the two,” the Utah foward mentioned. “You’re able to do your job working as an athlete and your basic training at the same time.”

Michael Lelchitsk, his long-time agent, always knew for certain that the basketball player had to go through with this at some point. “Lauri has always said he was going to do this,” he assured. “It’s important for him as a citizen to fulfill his civic duty and not have any kind of preferential treatment just because he is a famous athlete.”

Even though the Jazz did not qualify for the Play-in, Markkanen recorded a historic season in Utah

Let’s recap on Lauri’s last year. Back in September, he was part of the trade package that took Donovan Mitchell all the way to play in Cleveland. You could say that everyone believed the Jazz would be one of the worst teams in the league this season and no one expect much from Markkanen.

The 25-year-old did not only become an All-Star by February, he reached career-highs in many departments, especially in points as he averaged 25.6 points per contest. As for the club, they were close to making the post-season but ended in the West’s 12th spot.

Just to prove a point on how versatile Markkanen has been, last week he became the first player ever to record 200+ three-pointers and 100+ dunks in a single NBA tournament. Take a look at some of his best highlights from this campaign:

His entire squad recognized his greatness in the basketball court. “Yeah, I mean, that’s something we’re not accustomed to here or in Canada,” Jazz teammate Kelly Olynyk said.

“Lauri’s a stand-up citizen, so he is going to do whatever he has to do to serve his country, and I commend him for that,” he continued. “A lot of guys here wouldn’t do it or would try to get out of it. I don’t really have another comment on that. It’s crazy to hear.”