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Jazz star Rudy Gobert speaks out on NBA players dropping out of their national teams

Rudy Gobert, Jazz, France

Utah Jazz big man and France international Rudy Gobert is not thrilled that many notable NBA players opted to drop out of their national teams for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, though he said he respects their decision.

“You’ve got to respect everyone’s choice to come or not come,” Gobert recently told Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Gobert — whose French national team is notably slotted as FIBA’s third-ranked team, coming in behind only the United States and Spain — added that unlike those players who didn’t join their respective national teams, he sees the opportunity to represent his country as a chance to live a different moment.

“I see it differently,” Gobert added. “I go there to represent my country and live some different moments than you live in the N.B.A. But everyone is different, so you’ve got to respect everyone’s choice.”

The likes of  Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, Jamal Murray and RJ Barrett have already ruled themselves out of this year’s tournament. Team USA suffered a great blow wit the withdrawal of their top NBA stars, while Canada and Australia are also reeling from key losses.

Nonetheless, Gobert will be on the court hoping to lead France to victory over some of the world’s powerhouses, even if their respective rosters are a little lighter. Not only that, but Gobert’s group has a real shot at succeeding.