Does Embiid have his French passport, the door of the blues wide open?

Cameroonian pivot Joel Embiid, one of the best basketball players in the world, now has French nationality. The hypothesis of seeing him with the blues is taking shape.

Eight. Eight long days passed before we realized that Joel Embiid obtained French nationality. After all, his name appears among thousands of others in the publication of the Official Gazette of the French Republic, dated 5 July. On page 55 of the document, Joël Hans Embiid, born in Yaoundé in Cameroon, was able to see the validation of his petition.

A news that will surely cause a stir in the microcosm of blue white red basketball. Embiid, home of the NBA Philadelphia Sixers, is one of the best players in the world. Sportingly, his presence with the Blues is a dream. Ethically, it makes people talk. We will be back. This Wednesday, the observation is this: Embiid is thinking about the blues and the blues are thinking about Embiid. Last May, the French national team’s general manager, Boris Diaw, confirmed that Embiid “I wish I could play in France”, In the columns of The team .

Embiid with the Blues next year?

This Wednesday, the sports newspaper, quoting Embiid’s entourage, stressed that it was the French Federation (FFBB) that would have initiated the naturalization procedure. It doesn’t matter who laid the first stone: the two entities want to get married, and now it’s possible. There is no chance of seeing Embiid, 28, participating in Euro 2022, from 1er to September 18th. But when it comes to the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Paris Olympics, the hypothesis is gaining credibility.

On paper, Embiid on the France team is scary … for others. The Philadelphia pivot has finished second in the NBA MVP rankings the past two seasons. He is a high-level scorer, playable on the racket, skilled in free throws and able to shoot accurately at 3 points (37% success rate during the last two seasons of the NBA). Defensively, it’s also flawless. But many observers, reading these lines, have only one name in their mouth: Rudy Gobert.

A credible complementarity with Gobert

The three-time NBA defender of the year is one of the leaders of the French national team, silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics last year. Can two pivots coexist on the same team? It’s hard to believe that the coach, Vincent Collet, has not already thought of a major five to which Embiid would be added. The Franco-Cameroonian can play outside in attack, when Gobert leaves his racket very little. Gobert who has just been loaned to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he will play with another elite pivot, Karl-Anthony Towns. The latter, with a profile similar to Embiid, will occupy (and wants to) occupy position 4. Bonus: will leave the ungrateful defensive tasks to Gobert, who he loves.

Add to that that the Blues have often composed with two professional interiors in Tokyo (Vincent Poirier with Rudy Gobert in particular). What shook the United States, defeated in the group stage and winners in the final. Still, Embiid on the French team, to many, seems false. The French-speaking native of Yaoundé has never lived or played in France. At best, he spent a vacation there. His connection to the country seems quite distant.

The door is open to all windows

Admittedly, the plot is mostly sporty. Like most NBA players, Embiid cannot participate in the playoffs of his national team. Bigger nations, like France, are doing well for their inexhaustible group of players. For Cameroon, for example, it is a different story. Result: Embiid has almost no chance of playing a World Cup or the Olympics with “his” country. Frustrating.

The other problem with the Embiid case is the fear of opening the door to all windows. This is what Spain is currently experiencing with Lorenzo Brown, the 31-year-old American leader who will now be able to play with La Roja. At the moment, FIBA ​​only allows teams to call a naturalized player per meeting. But the rules are never set in stone.

In 2018, tricolor back Evan Fournier didn’t taste Embiid’s rumors with the Blues. “For me, playing for a country you have no ties to is annoying. Selection is not just a sporting challenge», tweeted the Olympic runner-up. The question of integrating Embiid would inevitably arise. The fantasies will continue until September, when the reality of the floor will take over: France is among the favorites in the Eurobasket, with the Olympic Games at home in sight, in the long run.

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