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#pounditFriday, April 12, 2024

French federation president has salty comments about Joel Embiid snub

Joel Embiid with a straight face

Apr 16, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) before game one of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jean-Pierre Siutat sounds personally slighted about Joel Embiid.

Siutat, the president of the French basketball federation, spoke with reporters at a press conference this week. At one point, the topic of Embiid, who recently snubbed France in favor of Team USA for the 2024 Olympics, came up, and Siutat did not hold back.

“We met Joel together with [French basketball figure and ex-NBA player] Boris Diaw in March of 2022,” said Siutat, per Orazio Cauchi of BasketNews. “But we didn’t ask for that meeting. He had shown interest in playing for France, and we helped him get French citizenship upon his request.

“But we were never demanding of him,” Siutat added of Embiid. “I’m just sorry that we have spent so much time and energy on a file that should never have been opened.”

The reigning NBA MVP Embiid, who officially became a French citizen in July 2022, did indeed at one point seem poised to suit up for the Olympic basketball team of France, the host country for the 2024 Games. But the French federation gave the center a hard deadline to make his decision by, which might have affected his thought process. In the end, Embiid picked the United States, whom he also now has citizenship with, instead.

Embiid did give a notable reason for why he decided on the U.S. But that will not come as much solace for the French side, who will enter the 2024 Olympics with a likely frontline of Rudy Gobert and Victor Wembanyama in Embiid’s absence.

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