Cameroonian born Joël Embiid who acquired French citizenship two months ago, was sworn in two weeks ago in Philadelphia as an American citizen.
"I’ve been here for a long time," Embiid told The Associated Press on Thursday (Sept. 29) at training camp at The Citadel. "My son is American. I felt like, I’m living here and it’s a blessing to be an American. So I said, why not?"
The 28-year-old graduated from a Florida high school and played a season in college at Kansas before the 76ers drafted him No. 3 overall in 2014.
The natural question raised is, which country could Embiid potentially represent in international basketball? Embiid defused speculation and said it was way too early to think about the Olympics or other international tournaments.
"I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there," the player revealed.
After missing his first two seasons with injuries, Embiid has been every bit the dominant force in the NBA over the past six seasons. Once the poster child for load management, Embiid set career highs in games (68) and minutes (33.8 average) and his 30.6 points made him the first international player ever to win an NBA scoring title. He’s a five-time All-Star and was runner-up each of the last two seasons to Denver’s Nikola Jokic in MVP voting.
Embiid, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris and P.J. Tucker might form the Sixers' most potent lineup since 2019 and they have a legitimate shot at contending for an NBA championship.
Coach Doc Rivers, in his third season, knows the scoring load isn’t a democracy — it starts with the Big Man.
"It’s just keep getting better at being a teammate and making everybody else better,” Rivers said. “That’s the next step, dominating. Giving room for James to dominate. Giving room for Tyrese to dominate. Giving room for Tobias to have a great game. I think he’s actually doing that right now."