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Joel Embiid says Olympic, national team decision is imminent

Joel Embiid

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 17: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Brooklyn Nets during Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on April 17, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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Joel Embiid said he will probably make a decision on his national team representation, and potential Olympic participation, “in the next few days.”

Embiid, the NBA MVP center for the Philadelphia 76ers, said that all three of his possible countries remain in the running: his native Cameroon, which he has never represented in major international competition, plus the U.S. and France, both of which he became eligible to represent last year.

“I love all three options,” Embid said Monday at 76ers media day. “Cameroon, I’m born there. I’m from there. I always want to represent my country, but the goal is also to play in the Olympics. If we had a chance or if we would qualify for the Olympics, that would be an easy decision, but that’s still up in the air.

“The U.S., 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. It is a tough choice, but probably going to make that decision in the next few days.”

While France and the U.S. are already in the Olympic field, Cameroon must win a tournament next July to reach Paris. It will be an underdog at that tournament if Embiid is not on the roster, and possibly still one with him.

At this past summer’s FIBA World Cup, Tokyo Olympic silver medalist France finished 18th, eliminated in group play. The U.S., four-time reigning Olympic champion, finished fourth, missing the medals for a second consecutive World Cup.

France was without No. 1 NBA Draft pick Victor Wembanyama. If Embiid picks France, its Olympic roster could include three NBA 7-footers along with Rudy Gobert and Wembanyama.

Center has recently been a weak position for the U.S., which struggled on the boards at the World Cup.