Nicolas Batum will once again represent France this summer as a competitor in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Last year, the French team that included other NBA players Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Alexis Ajinca, and Nando De Colo, won the Eurobasket tournament (held every other year) with significant contributions from Batum. Perhaps he can contribute to another European championship.
Batum announced his participation via facebook yesterday, saying, “C’est avec plaisir que je vous confirme ma participation à la Coupe du Monde en Espagne cet été.” Or, for those of you like me who do not speak French, “It is with pleasure that I confirm my participation at the World Cup in Spain this summer.”
This news is not entirely surprising, though Batum did legitimately consider sitting this one out. Back in February, he told Chris Haynes of CSNNW that he would make his decision regarding participation once the NBA season was over, adding, “I haven’t had a summer where I’ve been able to just rest and relax for a long time.”
One could probably surmise fairly early on that Batum would give it a go regardless. He is notorious for not giving himself much downtime. Not only did he unnecessarily play through pain in his surgically repaired shoulder during in the 2013 Eurobasket tournament, he suffered a fractured finger and a nearly broken nose this past season and still started all 82 games. With a now clean-ish bill of health, why would he start resting when his country needs him?
I am all for his participation this year. It is an extra reason to care about extra basketball. The FIBA Basketball World Cup will commence on August 30th and run through September 14th. If you find yourself bemoaning the lack of quality basketball to watch this summer, remember to tune in for a treat.