Joel Embiid is the latest superstar to commit to Team USA for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
In recent weeks, Team USA managing director Grant Hill had been recruiting Embiid, who was born in Cameroon and also has French citizenship. Ultimately, Embiid decided to represent the United States.
"After talking to my family, I knew it had to be Team USA," Embiid tweeted. "I want to play with my brothers in the league. I want to play for my fans because they’ve been incredible since the day I came here. But most of all, I want to honor my son, who was born in the US. I want my boy to know I played my first Olympics for him.
"I’m really proud and excited about this decision. It was not easy. I am blessed to call Cameroon, France and the USA home."
Embiid will join a star-studded squad that could also include Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Bam Adebayo, Donovan Mitchell and Jimmy Butler – all of whom have said that they will play for Team USA if selected.
"It's exciting for USA Basketball that Joel Embiid wants to represent the United States," Hill said in a statement. "Joel and I have had several conversations about his goals and I'm looking forward to continuing that dialogue knowing that one of those goals is to represent USA Basketball next summer in Paris. As I've said before, I'm looking forward to the process of building the 2024 USA Basketball Men's national team roster over the next several months."
Team USA failed to medal at this summer's FIBA World Cup in the Philippines, and a major reason was their lack of size of rebounding. The only big men on the World Cup roster were Jaren Jackson Jr. and Walker Kessler (who barely played), with Paolo Banchero and Josh Hart serving as small-ball 5s.
By the end of the World Cup, Team USA head coach Steve Kerr found himself turning to five-guard lineups that featured Hart at center. Hart led Team USA in rebounding with 5.1 boards per game, followed by Anthony Edwards' 4.6 rebounds per game.
Now, Team USA will be able to turn their biggest weakness into a legitimate strength after adding Embiid, who averaged an absurd 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.7 blocks, 1.0 steal and 1.0 three per game last season with the Philadelphia 76ers.
It's worth noting that this is a huge blow to France, the reigning Olympic silver medalist. The French national team would have been much scarier if they entered the Paris Olympics with Embiid, Victor Wembanyama, Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum, Bilal Coulibaly and Evan Fournier among others.
To recap, Embiid's commitment means that Team USA added the NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player, filled their biggest need and kept him from joining arguably their biggest competitor in the 2024 Olympics.
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