France Exec Shades Joel Embiid: Joining Team USA Is ‘Easy Way’ to Win Olympic Medal

France Exec Shades Joel Embiid: Joining Team USA Is ‘Easy Way’ to Win Olympic Medal

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France basketball president Jean-Pierre Siutat appears to believe Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid took the easy way out in committing to Team USA for the 2024 Paris Olympics over the French national team.

“Team USA, with him, who can beat you? Come on, nobody,” Siutat told The Athletic’s Joe Vardon. “This is an easy way for him to get an Olympic medal.”

Embiid committed to Team USA in October. He was also eligible to compete for France and Cameroon.

The NBA’s reigning MVP was born in Cameroon and holds citizenship in the United States and France. He admitted to reporters when he committed to Team USA in October that it wasn’t an easy decision to choose which country to represent.

“I love all three options, you know, with my home country, which I love a lot. But I really want to participate in the Olympics, that’s been my goal and my dream. And you add that with the fact that my son is American, and I’ve been here for such a long time. … I’m really thankful for the opportunity. France—the commitment they were willing to make—I really appreciate it. It was a tough decision.”

Shelburne also reported that Embiid decided to represent the U.S. “because he wants to help the U.S. return to the top of the international basketball world after it failed to medal at the FIBA World Cup in the Philippines this summer.”

Team USA is the favorite to capture the gold medal this summer with a roster that is also expected to include the likes of LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Jayson Tatum, Anthony Edwards, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Jrue Holiday.

Embiid’s commitment provided the Americans with both size and defense, which is something they were desperately lacking at the World Cup.

The French national team could also compete for gold in Paris with a roster expected to be highlighted by San Antonio Spurs rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama.

Embiid, 30, has been out of the 76ers’ lineup since tearing the meniscus in his left knee in a Jan. 30 loss to the Golden State Warriors. He underwent surgery to repair the injury and the Sixers are “hopeful” he can return in the first or second week of April, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Embiid was as dominant as ever to open the 2023-24 season. Prior to injuring his knee, he was averaging 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.8 blocks in 34 games while shooting 53.3 percent from the floor and 36.6 percent from deep.

The 76ers are hoping Embiid can recapture that form prior to the playoffs, and Team USA is likely just hoping he can stay healthy enough to compete for gold this summer.

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