On July 3, Jonas Jerebko, a Swedish ex-NBA player, expressed his ongoing uncertainty about his future, more than a year after his suspension by the Swedish Basketball Association. This suspension came after his decision to join CSKA Moscow, amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Jerebko now acknowledges his mistake in joining the Russian team, which referred to its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation”. He admitted that his decision was misguided and has yet to receive a response from the Swedish Basketball Association (SBL).
In a central Stockholm interview with Reuters, Jerebko stated, “I had been out of the game for nearly 18 months and felt like I had no other options,”. He accepted an offer from CSKA Moscow, at a time when his focus was solely on basketball – a decision he now deeply regrets.
The 36-year-old former player, who was the 39th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons, also played for the Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz. He was a part of the Golden State Warriors team that lost the 2019 NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors. Jerebko continued his career in Russia with BC Khimki until January 2021. It was in an attempt to revive his NBA career that he accepted a short-term contract with CSKA on March 30, 2022.
Many foreign players left CSKA due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The 6’10” power forward was recruited to bolster the team, but Jerebko once again found himself on the losing side.
Despite CSKA losing a 3-1 lead in the VTB League finals series to Zenit St Petersburg, Jerebko denies that monetary considerations influenced his decision to join the Moscow club. His decision had significant repercussions – a day after his contract was signed, the Swedish association suspended him from the national team and he has been sidelined ever since.
Understandably, some Swedish fans were upset at Jerebko’s decision to play in Russia. However, after a year-long hiatus and no other offers available, he felt he had no alternative.
Jerebko has tried to communicate with the SBL multiple times to discuss his current standing, but all his attempts have been unsuccessful. He understands the association’s perspective, but finds their lack of response challenging.
The SBL appreciated Jerebko’s admission of his mistake in joining CSKA Moscow. The general secretary of SBL, Fredrik Joulamo, stated they are open to having a conversation with Jerebko. However, they would not discuss the matter via the media.
Jerebko still has a passion for the game and hopes to contribute to Swedish basketball. He believes the onus is on the association to resolve his situation, as his attempts to communicate have been unanswered.
After spending a weekend at a basketball camp in Oslo, Norway, Jerebko asserts that he can still contribute to Scandinavian basketball, following his 10 seasons in the NBA. He mentioned, “Seeing the appreciation from young kids and giving them advice has reignited my passion for the game,” and he believes he can continue to play for a few more years if given the opportunity.