Portland Trail Blazers star Nicolas Batum has confirmed that he will play for France at the Euro Basket 2015 with the tournament to be played in September.
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Batum has decided to play for the French National Team as they attempt to defend their Euro Basket championship with the likes of Tony Parker also previously suggesting that he would take part.
However, the Trail Blazers star risks upsetting the franchise given that only last month he complained of feeling fatigue, and that would have in part been due to the fact that he played in the FIBA World Cup last summer and came straight into the new NBA season.
Nevertheless, he is adamant that he will feature in the tournament: “I have to fight for my country,” he said, according to Oregon Live.
“I always dream about playing a major tournament in France. It’s different to play for your country — in your country. We’re not a big country like USA and the USA Team. But when we go to Europe and we play in front of our own crowd, you can feel something different, something special. It’s like the playoffs. It’s different.
“It’s like when you go to war for your country. You think about yourself, your family and your job. Sometimes, you have to go for your country.”
France added a bronze medal at the World Cup to their recent success, with Batum earning himself a spot on the All World Cup Team alongside the likes of Pau Gasol, Kyrie Irving and Kenneth Faried.
However, he acknowledged that he was tired after logging a career-high in minutes and games last season, and with the fact that he is struggling with a wrist problem this year, it only risks doing further damage to his body in the long run.
Batum seems set on representing his country and so Portland will likely have little to say in the matter, but it is in stark contrast to the approach taken by his countryman and Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah.
Noah has insisted that the French team has never been a priority and he will not feature in the tournament this summer as he looks to help the Bulls end their wait for another championship.