He had, for years, left the door ajar. Joel Embiid, the Cameroonian pivot from Philadelphia (2.13 m, 28 years old) candidate for the distinction of NBA MVP (30.6 points, top scorer of the season, 11.7 rebounds), could one day swap his jersey blue of the Sixers for that of the France team.
According to information from RMC Sport, which we were able to confirm, the native of Yaoundé, who, without having grown up in France, has some ties to Paris, has applied for naturalization which could eventually make him selectable with the Blues .
“He has personally started naturalization procedures and he would then like to be able to play for France”
“I know that he has personally started the process of naturalization and that he would then like to be able to play for Franceexplains Boris Diaw, the general manager of the selection. That being said, we are not putting the cart before the horse and we are waiting for these steps to succeed. »
The first contact with the FFBB, which had led to nothing concrete, dates back to 2016. Then in 2018, when the debate first emerged, the executives of the France team reacted, some like Nicolas Batum not being against this integration paving the way for a frightening racket associating the Cameroonian with Rudy Gobert.
Opposed to the idea, Evan Fournier had unsheathed him on Twitter: “For me, playing for a country you have no ties with is disturbing. The national team is not just a sporting challenge. It’s not against Joel. It bothers me when the other selections do it, so it’s valid for the Blues. Then respect for Rudy (Gobert), where is he ? And the others who make sacrifices every summer for the France team? » Tony Parker also opposed it.
Embiid would have contacted some players of the France team to inform them of his intentions
The person concerned, he had hinted a few years ago that he would favor his native Cameroon, in particular in these columns in September 2018: “If I have to play international competitions, it would rather be with Cameroon. But there are also possibilities with France…”
His position has changed. It could mean an upheaval in the balance of the Olympic vice-champion team in Tokyo. The place of Vincent Poirier (Real Madrid) in particular, who had already seen Embiid block his way on the Philadelphia side, where he made a brief stint, would undoubtedly be the most threatened player.
On Twitter, he was one of the first to react, in a humorous tone, via a message accompanied by a smiley: “I’m going to start playing back, winger in the France team. Apparently there are spots for the summer”
After the last Olympics, the Embiid rumor had started to buzz again. The team’s executives had been asked internally to give their opinion. Joel Embiid, according to our information, would have even contacted certain players to inform them of his intentions. Now crystal clear.