Reigning NBA MVP Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid has committed to represent the United States at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Embiid informed Team America executive director Grant Hill of his decision Thursday morning, sources said, just days after the two met quietly for nearly an hour in Fort Collins, Colo., where the 76ers were visiting Hold a training camp.
Embiid said Thursday that he also was in contact with representatives from the French national team, but ultimately decided on Team USA after meeting with Hill.
“I just wanted to make sure I made the right decision and I just had one last meeting with all the parties involved and then moved on,” he said.
“It’s exciting for USA Basketball that Joel Embiid wants to represent Team USA,” Hill said in a statement Thursday. “Joel and I had several conversations about his goals. dialogue, and I look forward to continuing that conversation because I know one of the goals is to represent USA Basketball in Paris next summer. As I said before, I look forward to the coming months as we build the 2024 USA Basketball National Team roster. process.”
Embiid, who was born in Cameroon and holds French and American citizenship, has been in the midst of a fierce recruiting battle over which country he will represent in the Olympics. He said Thursday it would be “difficult” to choose one of the three countries to represent him.
“I like all three options, you know, I love my country so much,” Embiid said. “But I really want to go to the Olympics, that’s my goal and my dream. You added, my son is American and I’ve been here a long time… I’m really grateful to have This opportunity. France — the commitment they were willing to make — I’m really grateful for it. It was a tough decision.”
Sources say Embiid ultimately chose to play for the United States because he hopes to help the U.S. return to the top of international basketball after failing to win a medal at this summer’s World Cup in the Philippines.
A string of superstar players, including two former league MVPs – Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James – have expressed interest in joining forces after Team USA failed to win a medal next summer. Help Team America. Second consecutive World Cup and first since 1970.
While playing with other “great players” wasn’t a key factor in his decision, Embiid said he admires the “huge sacrifice” NBA players make while representing Team USA after a long season.
“When you have guys like that making that kind of commitment, I think it’s great, not just for them but for the game of basketball and the Olympics,” he said. “Basketball is a huge sport in the world.”
Embiid also reiterated that he was inspired by the opportunity to win a gold medal in front of his 3-year-old son Arthur, who was born in 2020 and is a U.S. citizen.
“I feel like over the last few years, since (Arthur) was born, every decision has been made based on family,” he said. “My family, my son, has the opportunity to represent a country like the United States.”
The addition of the 7-foot Embiid solves Team USA’s biggest weaknesses at this year’s World Cup: size and defense.
The Americans have lost three of their last four games in Manila, allowing an average of 117 points per game. Head coach Steve Kerr was ultimately forced to field an ultra-small lineup of five guards and wings, with 6-foot-5 New York Knicks guard Josh Hart serving as the “big man” on the floor. .
Embiid was selected to the All-Star team six times and to the All-Defensive team three times.
France, the reigning Olympic silver medalist, had hoped to persuade Embiid to play for France to host the 2024 Olympics. France finished 18th at this year’s World Cup but automatically qualified for the Olympics as the host nation. Cameroon has yet to qualify for the Olympics.
‘s Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.