Jim Boeheim helped Carmelo Anthony off the fence about Rio

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Carmelo Anthony is set to appear in his fourth straight Olympics, the first U.S. men’s basketball player to do so. It might not have happened were it not for Jim Boeheim.

The U.S. assistant coach, who was Anthony’s college coach during his one championship season at Syracuse, reached out to his former player after this past NBA season ended. Boeheim wanted to see if Anthony was in for Rio.

“He was squarely on the fence,” Boeheim said Wednesday. “I told him how he’d be good for our team. We knew LeBron [and others] weren’t going to come. It would be great for our team to have you.”

LeBron James had appeared by Anthony’s side at the 2004, ’08 and ’12 Olympics, but withdrew after another long season that carried him into the NBA Finals. Anthony’s New York Knicks missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

“I told him: Look, you’ve had two, three bad years, let’s have a good experience playing basketball,” Boeheim said. “That’s what this is. It’s not easy, but it’s a good test and will be good for him.”

“He had actually had some great points,” Anthony said. “I already knew what he was saying, but it was exciting and motivating coming from somebody like that. Did it have any effect on my decision? Maybe. I had to really think about some of the things he was talking about.”

Boeheim’s pitch helped ease the other concerns Anthony had – the same concerns everyone had about going to Rio.

“Who’s going to be on the team and the same worries everyone else has,” Anthony said. “I watch the news, what you write about Brazil — the economy, the viruses. Those things definitely came into play about my decision.”

MORE: Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony lead Olympic roster

Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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