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Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid has yet to make a decision on whether or not he wants to play in the 2024 Paris Olympics, but the two countries he holds citizenship in are making a strong push for the big man.
The United States and France “have quietly made pitches to try to secure him for the Olympics,” according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Embiid was born in Cameroon and holds French citizenship, but he became a U.S. citizen in September 2022 after going to high school in Florida and playing college basketball at Kansas.
The reigning MVP, who has spent his entire career with the Sixers, has emerged as one of the best players in the NBA and is coming off a 2022-23 campaign that saw him average 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 blocks in 66 games while shooting 54.8 percent from the floor and 33.0 percent from deep.
Embiid has never played in a major international tournament, but Les Bleus head coach Vincent Collet told reporters in October that he was still hopeful the veteran would decide to play for France despite becoming an American citizen.
“I know he met some of our players to discuss,” Collet said. “I think he should play with us. But we will see. We will respect his decision whatever it is.”
Even if Embiid doesn’t suit up for the French national team, Collett should still have one of the best squads at the Summer Games.
France, which won silver at the Tokyo Olympics, is expected to have a roster headlined by Minnesota Timberwolves big man Rudy Gobert, New York Knicks veteran Evan Fournier, Los Angeles Clippers forward Nicolas Batum and 2023 No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama.
The United States, meanwhile, could have a roster that features Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Miami Heat big man Bam Adebayo.
Durant and Adebayo helped lead the U.S. to a gold medal at the Tokyo Games.
Adding Embiid would help put the United States over the top at the 2024 Games, though it will still be highly competitive without him if he decides to play for France or his native Cameroon.