Paris (AFP) – Cameroonian basketball player Joel Embiid has been given French nationality, paving the way for his possible integration into the French team ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
As a 28-year-old, Joel Embiid now has official French citizenship since July 5, following the publication of two decrees that were validated on July 4. The basketball player had taken steps to naturalize French a few weeks ago.
A star player in the NBA, he has spent his entire career in the best league on the planet since his debut in 2014 in the Philadelphia jersey where he has an average of 26 points and 11 rebounds per game. Pivot for Sixers (2.13 m, 127 kg) finished goal scorer last basic series with an average of 30.6 points per game, but he was disrupted by injuries during the playoffs and the Sixers were knocked out in the semifinals of the conference by Miami (4-2).
First steps 2016Embiid’s first turns to the French Basketball Association (FFBB) go back to 2016. Revealed two years later, they had hardly provoked enthusiastic reactions, with full-back Evan Fournier in particular believing that “playing for a country with which you have no ties is disturbing”.
The Cameroonian pivot has never played in France but although he speaks perfect English and French, he was eligible in the newspaper L’Equipe, and explains that he has many bands in France. “I have a lot of family in France,” he said. Uncles, aunts … I went there when I was young to spend two months on vacation. […] I have 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 wanted to buy a house or an apartment there. »
In the face of criticism, the captain and outside of the Blues Nicolas Batum had proved to be more nuanced when it comes to a possible integration of the pivot in the French team, in an interview with the newspaper L’Équipe in May. “I can understand that it is ethically disturbing, but (…) an Embiid-Gobert racket (pivot of the Blues editor’s note), p … n!”, He had said.
No guaranteed access to the French team By the end of June, Blues boss Boris Diaw, himself a former NBA player, had indicated that naturalizing Embiid would not guarantee him direct access to France’s team. “On the day it will be obtained, it will be another matter to make a selection and take the players who have the capacity to carry this team in France while remaining in the group’s state of mind,” Diaw had explained.
Joël Embiid, who has never worn the Cameroonian jersey in competition, can therefore soon wear the French team. For a long time, however, Fécabasket tried to convince him to join the selection without success. his contract with the Philadelphia Sixers which requires the Cameroonian Federation to take out huge insurance in order for the player to be able to represent the national team.
Cameroon still hopes On the Cameroonian side, this naturalization will at least make people crawl, even if Fécafoot believes that this does not bode well for the player’s sporting future in the national team. “What we can say is that several Cameroonian players have dual nationality and so far we do not think it means much. We still hope that Joel Embiid will play for Cameroon,” said Camille Njoh Ekindi, Secretary General of the Cameroon Basketball Association at RFI’s microphone. .
In any case, the French team, which hopes to do well at the next 2024 Olympic Games to be held in Paris, can thus count on an election reinforcement. The prospect of a Joël Embiid-Rudy Gobert association in the racket makes basketball fans salivate. France was thus able to place two of the best players on the planet in this position.