The French national team was hoping to have at least some of its NBA stars for the upcoming Eurobasket qualifiers, which will be played in November in a “bubble”, but that was not the case and it probably won’t be for any other national team. Despite the fact that the French NBA players wanted to play, including Evan Fournier, Nicolas Batum, Vincent Poirier, Frank Ntilikina, and Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot, they didn’t get permission to do so from the NBA.
Vincent Collet: “With Patrick Beesley (ed.note: the French national team GM) we anticipated a number of things. I had contacted the NBA players in the weeks leading up to this announcement. All the players I was able to contact were very excited to be able to play in this window. Unfortunately, the NBA refused to release players for this window and so we built a team accordingly. Evan Fournier, Nicolas Batum, Vincent Poirier, Frank Ntilikina, and Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot were contented. All were enthusiastic. I called them today to explain the situation. Most have already answered me. I am also disappointed, I think it was a good opportunity, both to strengthen our team but also to work for the future, knowing that we did not have a meeting in the past summer. We have to take note”.
Boston Celtics center Vincent Poirier said that if he was presented with a dilemma between winning a gold medal in the Olympics with France or the NBA championship, then he’d go with the former. “I take the Olympic title,” Poirier said in an interview with Konbini Sports when asked to choose between the two. “French Olympic champions are rare. If I’m one of the 12 players who win the gold at the Olympics, I will be a legend.”
Vincent Poirier: “I never played in the Olympics and I’d love to participate. I’m quite stressed. I’m going to be 27 so in the next Games I’ll be 31. We don’t know how it’s going to go but I think everyone wants to go. If the NBA players aren’t there, we won’t have the Olympics as we are used to seeing them, without the whole Team USA.”
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