Hornets' Batum says some French fans celebrating his injury
By STEVE REED
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) After deciding not to play for the French national team this summer, Hornets guard Nic Batum has apparently lost the support of some countrymen.
Batum said Friday that some fans in his native France are celebrating his recent injury and taunting him on social media.
Batum had played for the French team each year since he was a teenager, but passed on the experience this summer to instead prepare for Charlotte's season. Now, he'll miss at least six to eight weeks with a torn ligament in his left elbow.
"I know (some) people in France are happy about it; that's the sad part," Batum said. "Really, for real. I got on stuff and people are happy like I deserve it. ... Trust me, I get those reactions on social media."
But he quickly added, "I (also) got a lot of support from France and here."
It was perplexing to the nine-year NBA pro that some fans rejoiced in his misfortune.
Batum had been dedicated to the French team and said he struggled with the decision to forego international play. Following Charlotte's 36-46 season, though, he felt he needed to focus on getting the Hornets back to the playoffs - especially after receiving a $120 million contract in 2016.
Still, a big part of his heart remains with the French squad.
In 2009, Batum hurt his shoulder during training camp working out for France. When he returned to Portland to prepare for the NBA season with the Trail Blazers, Batum said he was told he needed surgery.
"I said, `No! I've got to play Eurobasket.'" Batum said.
And he did.
When he returned to Portland, he hurt the shoulder again and missed four months of the NBA season.
Now, he's working through an elbow injury he sustained Wednesday night in a preseason game.
Batum will see a specialist in Dallas on Monday to determine whether he needs surgery. The right-handed shooter has been told he won't miss the entire season, even if he requires an operation.
"It's my left arm, so that's good," Batum said.
Jeremy Lamb is expected to start for Batum.
More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
Updated October 6, 2017