French Basketball Federation President blasts Joel Embiid for choosing USA for Olympics

The last season’s NBA MVP, Joel Embiid became a US citizen in September 2022 and earlier this month, the Philadelphia 76ers center reportedly committed to the Team USA for the upcoming Paris Olympics 2024. Embiid’s decision to snub France and choose USA Basketball wasn’t appreciated by the French Basketball Federation as their President Jean-Pierre Siutat blasted the 7-foot center.

Embiid had three options to make his debut in international basketball at the senior level. He had a choice to represent his homeland Cameroon, USA, and the France Basketball Team in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, however, the Sixers center opted for the Team USA.

Reflecting on Embiid’s decision,  French Basketball Federation President Jean-Pierre Siutat expressed his displeasure at a press conference. Siutat stated, “We met Joel together with (French basketball figure and ex-NBA player) Boris Diaw in March of 2022. But we didn’t ask for that meeting. He had shown interest in playing for France, and we helped him get French citizenship upon his request.”

Siutat went on to slam Embiid for wasting their “time and energy” and added, “I’m just sorry that we have spent so much time and energy on a file that should never have been opened.”

Team USA and Canada will feature the most number of NBA players in their squads and are already qualified for the Paris Olympics. With Embiid playing for the US, France will be dependent on their two pillars Victor Wembanyama and Rudy Gobert while  NBA guards Evan Fournier and Frank Ntilikina along with shooting guard Nicolas Batum will also be included in the French squad.

The French team defeated the USA at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, however, the latter took their revenge by winning the Olympic goal against France in the 2021 final. Apart from the USA and France, 2023 World Cup finalists, Germany and Serbia will also produce strong competition in the Olympics.

 

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