UTAH JAZZ

Watch: Video Shows Lauri Markkanen Reporting For Military Duty

Apr 17, 2023, 12:59 PM | Updated: Apr 18, 2023, 3:32 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen reported for military duty and his enrollment was documented by Yle News in Finland.

With the Jazz eliminated from the NBA postseason, Markkanen chose to begin his service in the Finnish military, a requirement for all men in the country before turning 30.

The All-Star is seen preparing his basics in a large military bag as he enters the defense forces facility.

“It’s a new challenge,” Markkanen said of the experience. “I’m going to go after it just like on the basketball court, I’m going to try to give them everything I’ve got every day and I know everything is going to be fine.”

Before leaving Utah, the forward said he was unaware of how long his military service would take but may have to split his commitment into two separate summers to fulfill his requirement.

Markkanen showed off his freshly shaved head on Sunday before reporting on Monday.

“I take pride in it,” Markkanen said. “I try to represent Finland as well as I can whether it’s on the court or off the court. I feel it’s a responsibility, and I’m enjoying it.”

Markkanen Coming Off Career-Year

While Markkanen will be representing his native country in the military this summer, the Finnish seven-footer became a national icon last summer with his performance on the court.

Playing for the Finnish national team, Markkanen averaged 28 points and eight rebounds during the FIBA EuroBasket tournament, including a 43-point outing in an upset win over Croatia.

Markkanen averaged 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 in 66 appearances with the Jazz this season.

On Friday, Markkanen was named a finalist for the Most Improved Player award and is in consideration for a spot on the league’s All-NBA teams.

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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.

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Watch: Video Shows Lauri Markkanen Reporting For Military Duty