Joel Embiid moves closer to playing for France at 2024 Paris Olympics

Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has obtained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent the nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Embiid’s name and birthdate appeared on a French government website list published last week of people who gained naturalization or reintegration.

France’s basketball federation has not commented.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was born and raised in French-speaking Cameroon but has never played for Cameroon’s national team, which could ease the process of switching to France.

Nations are allowed to roster one naturalized player for the Olympics.

Embiid, 28, was second in NBA MVP voting behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

A French team with the Embiid could spell trouble for the four-time reigning Olympic champion United States.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

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