Joel Embiid applies for French citizenship eyeing 2024 Olympics
While the Sixers prepared to get their asses kicked by the Miami Heat yesterday, Joel Embiid took his forced time off to apply for French citizenship. The move seemed to come out of left field to many, but it was anything but a surprise for those with a keen eye and sharp memory (a.k.a. not me).
The Cameroonian national is set to take advantage of France’s policy of offering citizenship to citizens of its former colonies. The reason behind it will surely have French stalwart Rudy Gobert shaking in his boots.
French outlet RMC Sport reported Embiid plans to play with the French national team:
In all honesty, this is an excellent move for Embiid’s international career.
The French team already challenges for Olympic medals, and adding him to an already quality roster can only increase parity on the international stage. It’s unfortunate that he will no longer suit up for his native Cameroon, but Pascal Siakam should’ve thought of that before he broke Embiid’s face in garbage time.
Congratulations, Pascal. You played yourself AND your country.
Of course, this turn of events is not solely due to Siakam’s careless play, but I sure would like to think it is. In fact, the decision is primarily for long-term health. France’s basketball program has higher quality doctors, and with his injury history and a multi-million dollar contract, it’s easy to see why he’d make that choice.
He even planted the seed four years ago:
When it comes down to it, it’s tough to blame Embiid. Granted, if I was a Cameroonian basketball fanatic, I’d most likely be in tears. This has got to feel like losing your best player to a much bigger market, to explain in NBA terms.
Fortunately for me, I’m a Sixers fan first, and Embiid’s health has always been priority number one. Plus, it’ll be fun to watch him suit up for Olympic play. I just hope Gobert is ready for some stiff competition.