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Rudy Gobert says Joel Embiid should only join Team France if his heart is in it

SB Nation logo SB Nation 12/2/2022 JacksonJFrank
© Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

This offseason, Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid gained both French and U.S. citizenship, making him eligible to also join Team France or Team USA on the international hoops circuit, whereas his native Cameroon has always been an option. Although, he’s never suited up for the Cameroonian national team to this point.

Recently, Rudy Gobert, the most high-profile member of Team France who helped lead his country to runner-up Olympic and EuroBasket finishes the past two years, spoke with The Athletic’s Joe Vardon about Embiid’s possible arrival.

“It has to come from him,” Gobert said. “You are either all in, or you’re not. You can’t just show up.”

Gobert made clear his heart has to be invested for the move to succeed, while also noting a frontcourt trio of him, the Sixers big man and rising star Victor Wembanyama would be unstoppable.

“But the international game is not about getting the best players on paper,” said Gobert, who later added he won’t personally recruit Embiid to Team France. “If Joel’s heart is with us and he wants to do it for the right reasons, it would be an amazing opportunity for our team.”

Embiid has previously spoken with New York Knicks guard Evan Fournier about possibly joining and Gobert is aware of all this, Vardon wrote.

“I want him to do it for the right reasons. As long as he understands that the French national team is different than the NBA,” Gobert said. “We have rules, we have things that we do. Sometimes, we all have lunch and dinner together — it’s not everybody doing their own thing.

“I think the main thing for us, for him and for me is that I want to make sure that he does it from his heart. And if he does that, I think he would be an amazing addition for our team.”

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