“They Are Disappointed”: Joel Embiid Broke His French Promise Despite President’s Law Changing Efforts Ahead of Paris Olympics

“They Are Disappointed”: Joel Embiid Broke His French Promise Despite President’s Law Changing Efforts Ahead of Paris Olympics

Team USA has always been the favorite to win international competitions. After the upset during the latest FIBA World Cup, several star players announced their devotion to representing the nation at the Paris Olympics. Accomplished icons LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant headlined the group. They were immediately viewed as one of the favorites. The hesitation was only because of the impending decision of one guy – Joel Embiid.

Hailing from Cameroon, the Philadelphia 76ers monster center always envisioned playing for his home. However, countless financial and political hurdles made it complex. He had two other options – the USA and France. If he chose the latter, the French would be labeled as joint favorites, who planned to start the trio of Embiid, Rudy Gobert, and Victor Wembanyama – three seven-footers.

France did everything to recruit Embiid. Their efforts go back as far as 2022 and even included bending the laws. Unfortunately, it was much to their disappointment.


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Joel Embiid didn’t uphold his promise to France

The Athletic recently spoke with Jean-Pierre Siutat, the president of France basketball. He went into detail about their recruitment chase for Embiid, a goliath in the world of basketball and one of the best players in the world. According to him, the bid began in 2022, with Embiid vocalizing his wish to play for France, a claim denied by his team.

To play for France, Embiid either had to be a living resident for two years or have some heritage within the country. He satisfied neither of those conditions. Yet, Siutat was determined to make it happen. He spoke to the embassy and arranged for everything. The transition for Embiid to get a French passport began.

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The government questioned their motives. They asked whether Embiid would bring significant value to the country. “Yeah, we said yes,” said the general manager of the French team.

Both Siutat and Boris Diaw strenuously worked to ensure Embiid got his passport. In July 2022, it was officially handed to Embiid and his son. They had a vision of playing the star center during the 2022 EuroBasket. A thumb surgery prevented Joel Embiid from participating. The French still remained patient.

However, as the Olympics grew closer, they needed an answer. A deadline was provided to Embiid. He had till October 10th, 2023 to make his decision. The MVP did so by October 5. Embiid told Grant Hill, the general manager of Team USA his intentions to represent them during the Paris Olympics.

USA Today via Reuters

It felt a sour taste in the mouth of the hosts, who were very much expecting the arrival of the seven-footer.

“It’s not so easy to get a passport. We do this because he asked us, and we were very happy to welcome him. At the end of the story, he decided to go to the U.S. team. It’s done for me, but you know, you don’t have to ask for the passport,” Siutat told The Athletic.


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To this day, a spokesperson close to Embiid remains adamant on their claims. The Sixers center made no promise, but only an announcement that he would make a decision in due time. However, due to the pressure of the French staff, Embiid was derailed from playing for them. But even then, Embiid loves all the three countries that could be his home.

“We understand they are disappointed. Joel was clear that he would make a decision when he was ready, and they chose to secure his citizenship in anticipation. Joel loves all three of the countries he calls home and will continue to find ways to support all of them,” said Embiid’s spokesperson.

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For Coveted Team USA Position


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A French lineup with Joel Embiid in the mix would have been exceptional. Their potential would be through the roof. It now remains a pipe dream that will collect dust in the minds of basketball enthusiasts. For Team USA, they will relish the services of Embiid, who perfectly resolves their weakness at the five.

Do you think Embiid should have committed to France? Let us know your views in the comments below.

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