Victor Wembanyama to skip FIBA, focus on rookie season

June 29, 2023 - 10:12 AM
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Jun 24, 2023; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs draft pick Victor Wembanyama speaks at a press conference at AT&T Center. (Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports via Reuters)

Victor Wembanyama has reversed course, deciding not to play for France in this summer’s FIBA World Cup so he can focus on training for his upcoming rookie season in the NBA and the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Wembanyama, last week’s No. 1 pick by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA draft, announced his decision in an interview with the French newspaper L’Equipe.

“It would not be realistic in terms of development and not prudent in terms of health,” Wembanyama told the newspaper. “I hope people will understand. It’s frustrating for me, too. The France team is still central for me. I want to win as many titles as possible with the team. But I think it’s a necessary sacrifice.”

France is the reigning Olympic silver medalist that has an eye on winning the World Cup in September. However, Wembanyama said he’s already looking at playing 170 games in a 24-month period, between the NBA and the upcoming Olympics, a far higher load than he’s ever played.

Wembanyama, 19, said it was his decision, adding that the Spurs would have supported his choice either way.

The World Cup runs from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10, with games happening in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.

—Field Level Media