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Not Cameroon, not France. Joel Embiid decides to play for USA in Paris Olympics

Joel Embiid deciding to play for USA and coaching   -  
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Olympic games Paris 2024

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid confirmed on Thursday that he had given up on France, which had been trying to lure him for two years, and opted to defend the colors of the United States for the 2024 Olympic basketball tournament.

Embiid, 29, who holds three passports - Cameroonian, his country of birth, French and American - arrived in the United States at the age of 16. He made his decision for family reasons and his "dream" of competing in the Olympics, he told reporters at a training session with his NBA team.

"It was difficult. Obviously, I like all three options," Embiid said. "I love my country, I love it very much. But I really wanted to play in the Olympics. That's my goal and my dream."

"Add to that that my son (Arthur, born in 2020, ed.) is American and I've been here so long. I've felt that in recent years, since he was born, every decision I've made has been based on family," he continued.

"On the roof of the world", the NBA club had earlier written in its message on X (ex-Twitter), accompanied by a photo of the player with the caption "Committed to Team USA".

The player, named MVP (best player) of last season in the North American championship, had announced his decision early on Thursday to the executive director of "Team USA", Grant Hill, according to the American sports channel ESPN.

- Tough choice" -

During the media day on Monday, he admitted that he was faced with "a difficult choice", even though he had been keeping the suspense alive for several months.

"I was born in Cameroon and I've always wanted to represent my country. But the goal is also to play in the Olympics", he had already indicated, despite the fact that Cameroon will be playing in a qualifying tournament for the Olympics without being sure of taking part, unlike France or the United States.

In opting for "Team USA", Embiid joins a list of NBA superstars who have declared their intention to take part in the Olympic Games, as the Americans attempt to recover from their fiasco at the FIBA World Cup in August.

Arriving in Asia with a rejuvenated team and without a dominant pivot, the USA fell just short of the podium after losing to Canada, two days after their defeat by eventual champions Germany. The defeat was seen as a humiliation on the other side of the Atlantic.

As for France, they were knocked out in the first round of the competition. French officials, who had been courting the Yaoundé-born pivot for two years, indicated after the fiasco that they wanted to "settle the Embiid dossier quickly".