A Guide to the France Men’s Basketball Team
Now an established force on the international stage, the French men’s basketball team is a team in transition, hoping to claim the country’s first Olympic gold medal in 2024 on home soil.
A side with a storied history, the French men’s basketball team has enjoyed its fair share of successes and agonizing defeats over the years. But, with two Olympic silver medals, two FIBA Basketball World Cup bronze medals and a gold at FIBA EuroBasket since the turn of the century, Équipe de France de basketball are typically in contention at all levels of play.
Keen to learn more about why the French men’s basketball team has been so successful in recent years? We’re here to help. The Courtside 1891 team have put together this comprehensive guide. Read on to discover all you need to know about France, including the team’s most impressive results, legendary players and up-and-coming stars.
2024 Summer Olympics - Men's Basketball
As the host nation, the France men's basketball team automatically qualified for Paris 2024. They are one of the twelve nations that will compete at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
The Olympic basketball events will take place between 27th July and 10th of August 2024. The nations currently confirmed to participate are France (host), Canada, Serbia, the United States, Japan, Germany, Australia and South Sudan.
The four remaining places will be confirmed through the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2024, which you can stream live with Courtside 1891. The tournaments are currently scheduled for July 2-7 2024.
From Europe, the competing Olympic qualifying tournament nations are Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Italy, Spain, Montenegro, Greece, Georgia, Finland, Poland and Croatia.
Puerto Rico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Mexico advanced from the Americas region, following positive results at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup. They will be joined by the Bahamas, who shocked Argentina in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in La Banda, Argentina.
From Asia and Oceania, the teams that advanced were Lebanon, the Philippines, New Zealand and Bahrain.
Egypt, Angola, Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon are the competing African nations.
How Did France Do At The FIBA World Cup 2023?
Here are the key stats from France's FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign:
- → Final Standing: 18th
- → Results: Played 5 Won 3 Lost 2
- → Top Points Scorer: Evan Fournier 69 PTS (13.8 PPG)
- → Top Assist Provider: Nando De Colo 23 AST (4.6 APG)
- → Most Efficient Player: Rudy Gobert 17.5 EPG
Without question, France had the most disappointing FIBA World Cup 2023 campaign when expectations are taken into consideration. A third-quarter capitulation to Canada on Gameday 1 ended up in a 95-65 defeat, followed up with an 86-88 loss to Latvia. With Olympic qualification already assured, the following three wins when the pressure was off did little to appease the passionate Les Bleus fans.
Had Victor Wembanyama been available to play, the outcome may have been different for France and they will be hoping to add his unique talent to the Olympic roster following his rookie NBA season with the San Antonio Spurs. Rumours were swirling that reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid would commit to France for Paris 2024, but perhaps following the USA's own shortcomings, the opportunity to play for USA Basketball was too appealing for the 76ers big man.
Les Bleus basketball fans can check out the France Team page for on-demand World Cup 2023 content. We've picked out the dramatic clash with Latvia below, which you can watch for free.
Team Presentation Video
Increase your knowledge about ‘Les Bleus’ (The Blues) with this Team Discovery Video. It’s a nice primer for the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games and will provide you with a range of top facts you can use to impress your basketball buddies.
- → FIBA Men’s World Ranking - 5th
- → 2 bronze medals at the FIBA Basketball World Cup (2014 and 2019)
- → Three Olympic silver medals (1948, 2000 and 2020)
- → One EuroBasket gold medal (2013)
- → Tony Parker was FIBA EuroBasket MVP in 2013
- → Qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 9 times
World Cup Qualification
France qualified for the 2023 edition of the FIBA Basketball World Cup with a perfect home record in four different arenas across France. The team topped both qualification groups and only lost two games out of 12. These were both on the road to two Balkan nations.
France began the qualification process in Group E, alongside Montenegro, Hungary and Portugal. The side won five of their six games during this qualifying phase, losing only a tricky away game against second-placed Montenegro by a single point.
After topping the group, France advanced to the second round of qualifying. Here, they competed in Group K alongside Lithuania, Montenegro, Hungary, Czechia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. More blowout wins followed for Basketball France. The side’s only additional loss came against Bosnia and Herzegovina in double overtime.
Ultimately, they topped Group K with 22 points. This equalled the best qualifying record (10-2) across Europe, alongside Germany in Group J. They also dealt out some heavy defeats. This included the return fixture against Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Les Bleus triumphed 92-56.
Best World Cup Qualifying Plays
France has a history of developing positionless players who can play at different spots on the floor. Taught to play with a team-first attitude, French players are typically defensive powerhouses who possess both agility and athleticism in abundance.
Keen to understand how the French side will try and dominate teams during the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup? Check out this video that contains their Top 10 plays from the qualifiers. The defensive tenacity that leads to Evan Fournier’s dunk against Bosnia and Herzegovina exemplifies the team’s non-stop workrate.
Current Star Players
France unveiled its 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup roster back in June, almost two months before the start of the tournament.
NBA stalwart Nicolas Batum features on the roster, as did Dallas Mavericks PG Frank Ntilikina, who withdrew due to injury. The headline name was Evan Fournier of the New York Knicks. It was a difficult domestic season for Fournier, who lost his place in the Knicks rotation and remains keen to earn a trade to a new team.
Fournier has been an almost ever-present for the French squad since he made his FIBA Basketball World Cup debut in 2014. Now, he’s one of the country’s most decorated basketball players. He’s claimed two bronze medals in two FIBA Basketball World Cup appearances, two EuroBasket medals (one silver and one bronze) and a silver medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Fournier has also enjoyed a stellar NBA career as a sharpshooting three-point scorer. Since being drafted 20th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets, he’s also enjoyed time with the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.
Evan Fournier was joined in the French squad by one of the NBA’s best rim protectors: Rudy Gobert. Named as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year three times, Gobert is a lockdown defender who can stifle opposition scorers and protect the paint. Due to this, he’s also been named as an NBA All-Star three times.
At the international level, Gobert was an integral part of the France side that claimed Olympic silver in 2020 and he featured in both squads that claimed FIBA Basketball World Cup bronze. He’s also the proud owner of a bronze (2015) and a silver (2022) EuroBasket medal.
However, although there’s lots of star power in the French ranks, fans from around the world were sad to see that the number one pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama made the decision to rest and protect his still-developing body. He spent the summer preparing for his rookie season with the San Antonio Spurs.
Another player choosing to sit out this summer is Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers. The reigning NBA MVP had reportedly expressed his commitment to playing for France ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. But, having also been eligible to represent both Cameroon and the United States, he chose USA Basketball in what is shaping up to be a deep and experienced roster.
Legends of the Team
When discussing French basketball stars, it’s impossible to overlook the incomparable Tony Parker. This generational talent fell to 28th in the NBA Draft, where he was snapped up by the San Antonio Spurs.
Unlike most late first-round picks, Parker almost immediately became his team’s starting point guard. The rest was history. He became a central part of the Spurs dynasty of the 2000s, claiming four NBA titles, a Finals MVP trophy (2007) and six All-Star selections. His number 9 jersey was retired by the Spurs in 2019, the same year his Argentine teammate, Manu Ginobili, received the same honor.
On the international stage, this pass-first point guard was just as exceptional. After clinching gold for France’s U18 team at the FIBA Europe U18 Championship in 2000, he began to represent the men’s national team. As the captain of the French team from 2003 onwards, he was central to helping the side claim four EuroBasket medals.
When France claimed gold in 2013, Parker was named as the tournament’s MVP and top scorer. At the time of his retirement, he was also the all-time leading scorer in the history of the EuroBasket competition. However, this record has since been overtaken by Pau Gasol.
While Parker is undoubtedly France’s greatest-ever player, Hervé Dubuisson remains France’s top appearance maker (259 caps) and point scorer (almost 4,000!). Hervé went undrafted in the 1979 NBA Draft but is the first French player to have worn an NBA franchise jersey (during a summer camp in 1884 with the New Jersey Nets). Since then, France has become the second largest exporter of NBA talent, behind only Canada, producing 30+ players and counting that have played on an NBA roster.
Historical World Cup Performance
Historically, France has underperformed at the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Although the team is now ranked inside the top five in the world by FIBA, France has only qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup nine times. In fact, they only featured at the tournament once between 1967 and 2005.
Thankfully, in recent years, the French team has begun to show signs of regular contention. After all, they’ve claimed the bronze medal in both of the last two competitions (2014 and 2019).
With an established core of NBA and EuroLeague players and a generational talent like Victor Wembanyama looming on the horizon, France will hope that these recent good performances are a sign of even greater things to come.
Previous Successes and Tournament Wins
Much like in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, France has experienced some success at the Olympics. However, the side has also gone long stretches without qualifying for the tournament.
Thankfully, the team’s fortunes are quickly changing. Since the turn of the century, they’ve captured a further two Olympic silver medals (2000 and 2020). With a home Olympics on the horizon in 2024, Les Bleus will be hoping that an elusive Olympic gold could finally be clinched on home soil.
When it comes to FIBA EuroBasket, we can see a similar story for the French. After years of mediocrity, France now regularly reach the latter stages of the tournament. Since the turn of the century, they’ve claimed two bronze medals (2005 and 2015), two silvers (2011 and 2022) and a gold medal (2013).
How to Watch France Men's Basketball
With Courtside 1891, worldwide fans can stream every game of FIBA international tournaments, as well as other competitions from around the world.
As FIBA’s premium streaming partner for the World Cup, Courtside 1891 provided access to every 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup game! Watch the competition's biggest games and best moments on-demand on our FIBA Basketball World Cup page.
The best way to make sure that you never miss a single second of the upcoming action is to download our app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, or sign up to our website platform. Please be aware that, due to broadcasting rights and restrictions, access to some games might be restricted depending on your location. See our where-to-watch page for full details of upcoming competitions.
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