76ers' Joel Embiid Wants to Play for France National Team, Says Boris Diaw

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 31, 2022

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Joel Embiid is one step closer to playing for the French national team.

Former NBA forward Boris Diaw, who now serves as France's general manager for international competition, said Embiid has been accepted as a citizen and will soon apply to play for the country.

"His [Joel Embiid's] request for naturalization has been accepted," Diaw told L'Equipe. "We know that he’s still waiting for the French passport. When he obtains it, then he can start the process and apply for a FIBA license for the national team.

"He would've liked to play this summer if he hadn't been injured. But he underwent hand surgery and didn't return to basketball."

Embiid was born and raised in Cameroon but has family in France. The process of him joining the French team has been several months in the making, setting the potential stage for Embiid to be part of the 2024 Olympic roster.

FIBA rules allow one naturalized citizen to be part of each country's roster. Embiid would instantly be the best player on the French national team, which earned a silver medal in the 2020 Summer Games.

The current group of players eligible for the 2024 Olympics include Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Frank Ntilikina, Theo Maledon and Victor Wembanyama. The last player is considered the overwhelming favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA draft.

If Embiid is added to that crop of players, the United States may face its most formidable test on the international stage since the Gasol-led Spain national team of the late 2000s and early 2010s.


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