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 Batum, Evan Fournier, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Frank 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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