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Victor Wembanyama reportedly says he will not play in FIBA World Cup

Victor Wembanyama

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 24: Victor Wembanyama addresses the media on June 24, 2023 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photos by Caitlin Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)


Victor Wembanyama said he will not play for France at the FIBA World Cup in August and September, citing physical workload, according to L’Equipe.

“It would be unrealistic in terms of development and unwise in terms of health,” Wembanyama told the newspaper, according to an Associated Press translation. ”I hope people will understand. It’s frustrating for me, too. The French team is as central as ever. I want to win as many titles as possible with them. But I think it’s a necessary sacrifice.”

Wembanyama, a 7-foot-5 19-year-old drafted No. 1 by the San Antonio Spurs, reportedly said that playing in the World Cup could up his workload to 170 games in a two-year span.

It means that Wembanyama will likely make his major international tournament debut at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

At the Tokyo Games, France handed the U.S. its first defeat at the Olympics since 2004. That was in group play. The U.S. then beat France in the final.

France can be even more potent in Paris playing in front of a home crowd and with a potential triple towers lineup of Wembanyama, Rudy Gobert (7-foot-1) and NBA MVP Joel Embiid (7 feet).

Embiid is eligible to play for Cameroon, France or the U.S. but is not expected to play in the World Cup, giving him more time to decide on his nationality.