Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid has pledged to play for the United States at next year’s Paris Olympics, multiple media reports said Thursday.
The Philadelphia 76ers star was also eligible to play international basketball for Cameroon and France but has opted for the United States, ESPN and The Athletic reported.
ESPN said the Yaounde-born Embiid confirmed his decision early on Thursday to Team USA executive director Grant Hill.
Embiid joins an array of NBA stars who have signalled their intention to play in the Olympics as the Americans aim to bounce back from their failure to medal at the FIBA World Cup in August.
LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry all said this week they aim to be part of the US squad which will be chasing a fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal in Paris.
Speaking to reporters at the Sixers’ media day on Monday, Embiid said he was agonising over his international career.
Embiid said while his first choice would have been to represent Cameroon, he was also drawn to representing the USA and France. Embiid holds citizenship to both countries in addition to Cameroon.
“I love all three options,” Embiid said.
“Cameroon, I’m born there. I’m from there. I always want to represent my country, but the goal is also to play in Olympics.
“If we had a chance or if we qualified for the Olympics, that would be an easy decision, but that’s still up in the air, and I really do want to play in the Olympics.
“The US, obviously they’ve been struggling the last couple of years trying to get back on the top.
“You also got France, that’s up and coming. I’m just thankful that I’m able to be in that situation.”
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