NBAPhiladelphia 76ersSan Antonio Spurs

Victor Wembanyama is Sad for Cameroon After Joel Embiid’s Team USA Commitment

(Left) Victor Wembanyama at Spurs practice. (Right) Joel Embiid in a game.

Victor Wembanyama, the San Antonio Spurs’ promising rookie, recently expressed sadness for Cameroon. This came following Joel Embiid’s decision to represent Team USA in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Embiid’s decision to play for Team USA over his native Cameroon or France has garnered reactions, including from Victor Wembanyama.

The feelings stirred within Wembanyama were communicated to Spurs reporter Tom Osborn.

“I don’t really have an opinion,” Wembayama said. “I’m just sad for Cameroon.”

– Victor Wembanyama via Tom Osborn

Joel Embiid is fluent in French and was born in Cameroon. Despite his roots, he has never represented Cameroon in international basketball events.

Although he has never lived in France, he has family there. Embiid was able to secure French citizenship through a special provision that allows nationality to be granted to a foreigner whose naturalization is of exceptional interest to the country.

Even without Embiid, Wembanyama won’t represent France alone; he’ll likely join forces with notable players like Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum, and Frank Ntilikina. 

Los Angeles Lakers‘ superstar LeBron James, called Embiid’s move to join Team USA a “big time” decision. It’s part of a larger narrative, with many NBA stars committing or showing interest in joining Team USA, building a formidable lineup for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Interestingly, the discourse surrounding national representation in international tournaments was first stirred by US sprinter Noah Lyles. 

After his gold medal win at the World Championship, Lyles criticized NBA players for labeling themselves as “world champions” following an NBA title victory, arguing that actual world championship status is only achieved through international events like the Olympics.

The remarks made by Noah Lyles struck a chord within the NBA community. For instance, Tyrese Haliburton from the Indiana Pacers mentioned that Lyles’ comments “weren’t the most intelligent response.” Additionally, Damian Lillard, who recently joined the Milwaukee Bucks, confidently asserted that NBA players are indeed World Champions and can triumph over any national team.

Lyles’ comment ignited a desire among many players to represent Team USA in the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics and assert their global dominance on the basketball court. 

The Full List of NBA Players who have Committed or Shown Interest in the 2024 Paris Olympics

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 12: LeBron James #27 looks on as Kevin Durant #29 of the 2015 USA Basketball Men's National Team shoots a free throw during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on August 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The list of players interested in playing for Team USA in the 2024 Paris Olympics embodies a mix of seasoned and budding talents.

  1. LeBron James (Expressed Interest)
  2. Kevin Durant (Confirmed)
  3. Steph Curry (Confirmed Interest)
  4. Joel Embiid (Committed)
  5. Anthony Davis (Would play if asked)
  6. Damian Lillard (Reported Interest)
  7. Kyrie Irving (Reported Interest)
  8. Draymond Green (Spoken to by LeBron James)
  9. Jayson Tatum (Spoken to by LeBron James)
  10. Devin Booker (Reported Interest)
  11. Khris Middleton (Would play if asked)
  12. Bam Adebayo (Committed)
  13. DeMar DeRozan (Indicated willingness)
  14. Bradley Beal (Indicated willingness)
  15. Donovan Mitchell (Indicated willingness)
  16. Jaylen Brown (Indicated willingness)
  17. Julius Randle (Indicated willingness)
  18. Zach LaVine (Indicated willingness)
  19. Aaron Gordon (Indicated willingness)
  20. Fred VanVleet (Indicated willingness)
  21. Brook Lopez (Indicated willingness)
  22. De’Aaron Fox (Reported Interest)

As Joel Embiid aims for a gold medal with Team USA at the Paris Olympics, and Victor Wembanyama mourns the missed opportunity for Cameroon, the Philadelphia 76ers still face uncertainty with James Harden’s rocky off-season.

The question looms: will the president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, finally trade a discontented Harden or keep him for the season? The answer will unfold soon as the 76ers look to play against the Boston Celtics in their preseason opener on Sunday.