Victor Wembanyama has opted out of participating in the 2023 FIBA World Cup this summer, instead shifting his focus toward preparing for his rookie season with the San Antonio Spurs. While a change of heart from the teenage phenom throws a massive wrench in plans of the French national team, no one can blame him for seeking some much-needed rest after the immense mileage he accumulated with Metropolitans 92 during their miraculous Cinderella run to the LNP Pro A Finals.
The 7-foot-5 center recently committed to suiting up for the Silver and Black at Summer League. And with only one week to recuperate after notching over 1,400 minutes under head coach Vincent Collet in his home country last season, sitting out of another demanding event is likely the best thing for his long-term future in the NBA. Though Wembanyama is a notoriously fiery competitor, he explained the decision he and his medical staff made in an interview with French newspaper L'Equipe.
"It would not be realistic in terms of development and not prudent in terms of health. 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."- Victor Wembanyama
Wembanyama is understandably dissapointed to leave Les Bleus hanging, but they will have plenty of time to get back on the same page. The talented youngster already has his sights set on usurping the United States at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. And with a stacked roster that could include Joel Embiid, Rudy Gobert, Evan Fournier, Nando De Colo, and Nicolas Batum, France has a real chance to become the first team to win the basketball gold medal on their home turf since 1996.