76ers star Joel Embiid is now formally a citizen of the United States after attaining citizenship in Philadelphia earlier this month, according to The Associated Press.
The 28-year-old native of Cameroon announced on Thursday that he had formally attained citizenship after being sworn in two weeks earlier in Philadelphia. He was speaking at the 76ers training camp. Before being selected third overall in 2014, Embiid completed his high school education in Florida and played one season at Kansas. He informed the Associated Press that his Brazilian girlfriend Anne de Paula and their two-year-old kid were major influences on his choice.
It’s been a while since I’ve been here, Embiid remarked. “My kid is from the USA. I had the impression that being here and being an American was a gift. So I said, Why not?”
Embiid was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and his journey to the NBA began when he immigrated to the United States at age 16—one year after he started playing basketball. His coach and former NBA player Luc Mbah a Moute attended Montverde Academy, where he first joined. However, after his first year, he transferred to The Rock School in Gainesville, Florida, where he finally achieved national recognition.
Embiid, who is already in his seventh NBA season, is getting ready to lead the Sixers to an NBA championship with James Harden and a strong supporting players. However, with Thursday’s announcement, attention briefly returned to the five-time All-Olympic Star’s ambitions in front of the Paris Summer Olympics in 2024.
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Embiid, who also has French relatives, became a citizen of France in July after speculations about his desire to represent his nation’s national team in international competition for the first time surfaced in May. Even if there are still unanswered concerns, the dominating big man diverted the conversation on Thursday by claiming it’s too early to consider the Olympics.
He told the AP, “I just want to be healthy, win a championship, and then go on.”
While it’s unclear how Embiid would do in an international tournament, he has already more than shown his ability to perform against any opposition on any given night after surviving a number of ailments during his career.
In 68 games, Embiid averaged a career-high 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists, earning him the MVP award. The 76ers advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals for a second consecutive season after ending with a 51-31 record, but they were defeated by the Heat in six games.