Philadelphia 76’er Joel Embiid has decided what Olympic team he’s going to play for. Though he’s a native of the African country of Cameroon, Embiid announced that he’ll play in the Paris 2024 Olympics for Team USA.
Embiid revealed his decision after a conversation with Team USA executive director Grant Hill at Sixers training camp in Colorado, per ESPN. Though he is a citizen of both France and the United States, Embiid says he ultimately made the decision to lend his talents to the country that has embraced him and his family.
“I love all three options, you know, with my home country, which I love a lot,” Embiid said. “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.”
The NBA’s reigning MVP, Embiid announced his decision on X.
He added that his 3-year-old son, Arthur, who was born in the U.S., played a big role in his decision making as well as the chance to help Team USA return to world competition glory after their two consecutive losses in the World Cup. That has not happened in international competition since 1970.
“I feel like for the past few years, since [Arthur] has been born, every decision has been made just based on family,” Embiid said. “My family, my son, and having the chance to represent a country like USA.”
It likely was a fairly easy decision considering that Cameroon has yet to qualify for the Olympics. The French team won a silver medal in Tokyo, and they made a pretty good pitch, according to Embiid.
But the chance to win a gold medal with potential teammates like Steph Curry, LeBron James and may have also swayed Embiid towards joining the US team. Curry and James have expressed interest though they have not yet committed.
“It’s exciting for USA Basketball that Joel Embiid wants to represent the United States,” Hill said in a statement late last week.
He added, “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.”
The Summer Olympics, which will be covered wall to wall by NBC, are scheduled to be in Paris from Friday, July 26 – Sunday, Aug. 11
See how social media’s reacting to Embiid’s decision below.