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Team USA is reportedly trying to recruit Joel Embiid to play for it instead of France

The MVP-caliber big man has options for international play.

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Back in July, Joel Embiid became a French citizen. In September, the big fella announced he’d also been sworn in as a U.S. citizen. A native of Cameroon, Embiid now holds eligibility to suit up for any of those countries on the international hoops circuit.

According to Marc Stein, “Embiid is believed to be eager to play internationally under a different flag than his native Cameroon. He presumably would love to sample life in the global spotlight on the Olympic stage.”

“The Philadelphia 76ers star hasn’t revealed anything when asked directly by media members, but there were rumbles all summer that Embiid intends to play for France at the 2024 Olympics in Paris ... and maybe even the 2023 World Cup in Asia,” Stein wrote. “Sources say that Embiid has already engaged in discussions with longtime NBA forward Boris Diaw, who serves as the general manager of the French national team, about joining Les Bleus.”

France, a runner-up at 2022 EuroBasket and the 2021 Olympics, is not the lone international powerhouse vying for Embiid’s services, though. According to Stein, Team USA is “seriously interested,” both in an aim to keep him away from France’s squad and fortify the center position itself, which has recently been quite mercurial and filled by non-stars (excluding Bam Adebayo).

“Count on Embiid being courted by USAB officials,” Stein wrote, “just like his idol Hakeem Olajuwon in 1996 after Dream gained U.S. citizenship.”

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