Joel Embiid, the NBA superstar who wants to play with the Blues

While he has started the administrative procedures to obtain the French nationality and play for the French team, Joel Embiid is enjoying his best season with the Philadelphia 76ers shirt. If he has never played with Cameroon, his country of origin, he has ties to France.

France approaches for Joel Embiid. According to our information, the 28-year-old pivot, who plays for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA, has begun the administrative procedures to obtain French nationality and be able to play for the Blues. With his impressive tonnage (2.13m, 127kg), the Yaoundé native would obviously be a favorite reinforcement for Vincent Collet, the Tokyo Olympic runner-up coach. Although he has never played for the Cameroon national team, he can claim to join the Blues, the International Basketball Federation allowing only one naturalized player per selection.

MVP competitor

Philadelphia’s top player since his draft in 3rd position in 2014, Joel Embiid has gained strength in recent seasons, after taking a two-year hiatus due to injury. The number 21 of the 76ers has reached a milestone this season, becoming the top scorer of the regular season (30.6ppg). He is the first non-American player to win the award and the first pivot since legend Shaquille O’Neal in 1999-2000. With this performance, he is logically one of the finalists for the title of best player of the season (MVP), along with Giannis Antetokounmpo (NBA champion in 2021 and MVP of the finals) and Nikola Jokic (MVP in office).

Considered one of the best pivots in the world, capable of excelling in the basket as well as on three-point shots, Joel Embiid has ties to France as he is fluent in French and has a family in France. He also closely follows the performances of some French footballers, such as Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé. However, Embiid hinted in 2018 that his choice at the time was more Cameroon.

“I never said I would play for France, only it was a possibility. You never know. I never thought about playing internationally until then because I have to be in good shape. Health first of all. I come from the Cameroon but there are many problems. They have to solve all this. I love my country, I am a patriot. I want to play for my country. If I have a choice to make, it will be Cameroon first, if there is a good structure, because it is where I come from. […] So, there is my country, there is France, there is also the United States. I just want to be in a good frame, ”explained the pivot of the 76ers.

However, he never hid his love for France, as he developed in an interview with L’Équipe. “I have a lot of family in France. Uncles, aunts … I used to go there when I was little to spend two months on vacation. I haven’t had a chance to go back since I’ve been in France. NBA, but as long as I’m in good health and during the summer. I have nothing to do here in Philadelphia, I would like to travel, France is really my destination, I want to pass a French food that I like, Roland-Garros! I want to go to Roland-Garros, if we are not in the NBA finals. see the Tour de France. I really want to see him in the car. The race director, for a mountain event. And then me “I’ve always been a fan of France in general. The fact that I speak French, the family there, my father and my mother are in France maybe three times a year and they wanted to buy a house or an apartment there. “

A mixed review in 2018

If the five-time All-Star, who has family in France, obtains naturalization, he will then be able to play with Nicolas Batum, Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier, even if the latter, like Tony Parker, had opposed this type of selection four. Years ago. “In the federations, we work hard to get young people to work and I find that a little bit of authenticity is lacking when doing things like this. I’m not a big fan of seeing Slovenia or Croatia with the American national team, we should play with the players of the country, who grew up there “, assured” TP “in L’Equipe.

For his part, Fournier had sent a strong message at the time. “Because you have to stop talking nonsense. I’m not saying that against Joel, he is a very good player. Of course he would do us well in France. But this is not the debate. You are not French, you” are not there, that’s all. If he played for Cameroon, he would be wonderful for his country. In terms of values, he would be much stronger than “He represents Cameroon than France. I think he made a bad calculation,” estimates the back of the New York Knicks in the Parisian columns.

The examples of Bria Hartley and Gabby Williams

At the time, General Manager of the French Basketball Federation, Patrick Beesley had told him that the arrival of the Yaoundé native in the French team was possible. There had already been contacts, two years ago. Currently injured indefinitely (right eye socket fracture and concussion), Embiid is following the results of Philadelphia from afar, who just lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last night in Miami (106-92 ). If the trial were to be successful, Joel Embiid would be an element of choice for Vincent Collet if the latter chose him.

While the Blues have to compete in the 2023 World Cup and especially the 2024 Paris Olympics, the pivot could strengthen a workforce that is not lacking in talent. When asked about the subject, Evan Fournier preferred to kick in touch … for now. “Leave me alone with your quotes on all the tweets of the French team. I have a week off during the year, we talk on the way home.” The French team has already used the women’s naturalization system, which in particular allowed Bria Hartley, then Gabby Williams, both born in the United States, to join the team led by Jean-Aimé Toupane.

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