Embiid, passport for France, visa for the Blues?

Los Angeles (AFP) – Cameroonian Joel Embiid, who is looking for French citizenship, will be subject to selection if he obtains it. But from there to see him play blue during the 2024 Olympics, it’s a step a long way from taking the NBA star, not tied to a hexa-basketball.

“He has started the naturalization procedure and after that he would like to play for the France national team,” said Tuesday Lokib Boris Diao, director general of the selection, confirming the information received from RMC Sport.

On paper, the prospect of seeing the Philadelphia Sixers’ hub (2.13m), one of the best players in the world, reach the NBA Most Valuable Player Cup final, where he finished the season as top scorer (30.6 points from average), holds the hopes of winning the Olympic title The Frenchman in Paris in 2024, enough to spark excitement.

But on this path, regardless of the complexity of the naturalization process – and therefore its feasibility – for a player born in Yaounde, who does not live in France and has no family ties there, other difficulties will follow.

“Joelle has nothing to do with French basketball. He did not play in France, did not live in France. There is something inappropriate about Joel’s affiliation with France basketball. Being one of the best basketball players in the world is not enough”, explains to AFP Jacques Monclair, consultant Basketball at BeIn Sports.

“It’s annoying”

Embiid and the Blues, the story is not new, however, because the first approaches with the French Federation date back to 2016. It was revealed two years later, that it did not elicit very unenthusiastic reactions, and Yvan Fournier in particular considered that “playing a country with which does not You have troublesome relationships with her.”

Naturalized players, featured in blue, from Crawford Palmer, silver medalist at the 2000 Sydney Games, to Euro 2011 finalist Joachim Noah, all of whom, unlike Embiid, had French basketball experience, prior to wearing Tricolor shirt.

And he was the player of the French basketball team Joachim Noah on September 19, 2011 in Paris after the defeat of the French team against Spain during Euro 2011 for basketball. François Gilot AFP / The Archives

“In some countries there is a practice of the passport of convenience very far from the Embiid case, because he speaks French, and he says he has an uncle and an aunt who live in France. So if the legal aspect is respected, I don’t,” former coach Claude Bergot (2003-2007) told AFP. Press “See why, mathematically speaking, we would have done without him.”

The player’s immense talent, strength, technique and maturity at 28 years make him a huge asset.

“The coach I was, of course, sees himself as coach Joel Embiid with Joubert, Batum, Fournier … but you have to take into account a lot of obstacles to overcome them,” projects Jacques Monclair.

The explosive duo with Joubert

“First of all, we are talking about a player who has had a few injuries, so we have to secure him to play at international level. He will have to accept the logistical aspect, as the players spend a month training with the France team before the competition, so the Sixers should also want to release him.” , as it evolves.

“We’re working on continuity with the Blues as well. I can’t see (coach) Vincent Colette firing the players who won the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo. And we don’t know his ability to adapt, whether in FIBA ​​competitions or in the game system. These criteria are important,” continues Claude. Bergod.

“There is a risk of creating change that could potentially destabilize the group, particularly at the vanity level,” Monclar adds.

“I can understand that it is morally disturbing, but from a basketball standpoint (…) the Embiid Joubert racket, r…n!” Blues captain Nicholas Batum summed it up on L’ Team Wednesday.

Embiid, with his offensive profile capable of playing outside, can form an explosive inner duo with Rudy Gobert, who shines above all because of his defensive deterrence. In the Tokyo Olympics, Colette did not hesitate, at times, to pair “Gobzilla” with Vincent Pourier against the United States, successfully in the opening match (83-76).

Basketball player Rudy Gobert (right) posses the ball from player Joel Embiid during a game between the Utah Jazz and the Philadelphia 76ers on December 9, 2021 in Philadelphia.
Basketball player Rudy Gobert (right) posses the ball from player Joel Embiid during a game between the Utah Jazz and the Philadelphia 76ers on December 9, 2021 in Philadelphia. Tim Nwachukwu GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP / ARCHIVES

The latter, who joked on Twitter “I’ll start playing 2/3 (back wing) in my EDF”, could pay for the Cameroonian’s arrival in the blue. He is not the only person.

“If you take Joel, you take someone else. We also have Victor Wimpanyama. But it would be a shame if he didn’t play the Olympics in Paris,” Monclair said of the 18-year-old strong winger. Hope in French Basketball.

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