“I don’t want to play for any other team”: when Embiid wrote to Macron to do the Olympics with the Blues

Did Joel Embiid knowingly lie to the President of the Republic, or just change his mind? The question legitimately arises when reading the letter that the basketball player, NBA star with the Philadelphia Sixers, sent to Emmanuel Macron with the aim of obtaining – successfully – French nationality. A letter dated October 28, 2021 and including RMC Sport exclusively revealed the content this Thursday, April 18, the day after the official announcement of the American selection for the Paris Games of which Embiid is a part.

A letter, above all, which takes a new look at this soap opera which has kept basketball fans in suspense for months from France to the United States via Cameroon. Three countries whose passports he now holds.

At the time, Embiid, born in Yaoundé in 1994, only had Cameroonian nationality, but the Indomitable Lions had very little chance of qualifying for the Paris Games. A competition that one of the best pivots in the world dreams of competing in. During an interview with the newspaper l’Équipe in 2018, he declared that the Olympic Games were “the only competition” that he wanted to compete in outside of the NBA.

“My choice is now made. I would like to take the steps to obtain French naturalization and thus be eligible for selection with the Blues. »

Joel Embiid

It was with this approach that he contacted the French Basketball Federation in 2020. “This was never an initiative of the French federation, nor of me,” explained Boris Diaw, manager of the French team in last October. Obviously, I met him, even several times, and he clearly told me that he wanted to play for the France team. »

The authority then advises him to carry out administrative procedures with several ministries and assures him of its support. He will obtain nationality in July 2022 thanks to article 21-21 of the Civil Code which specifies that “French nationality can be granted to a French-speaking foreigner (which is his case) who contributes through his distinguished action to the influence of France and the prosperity of its international economic relations. And undoubtedly to his letter to President Emmanuel Macron.

Joel Embiid could have swelled the ranks of the French team’s racket, where he would have notably found Rudy Gobert. SUSA/Icon Sport

In this letter, Embiid proclaims his love of France, a country where he “spent a large part of [sa] youth “. “Part of my family is in fact French and, beyond sharing the language, I have often stayed in France. As soon as I have the opportunity, I visit my aunts Suzanne and Lucie, living in Courtry and Courcouronnes, as well as my first cousin Pierre, who lives in Évry. »

The person concerned does not hesitate to give many personal details and “keeps fond memories of my summer holidays spent in France, like in the summer of 2009, during which I was able to spend the whole month of July enjoying the capital city. Moreover, I still go regularly to Paris, where I wish to acquire a permanent second home. »

“Also, after discussions with the French Basketball Federation, my choice has now been made. I would like to take the steps to obtain French naturalization and thus be eligible for selection with the Blues. I therefore do not wish to play for any other national team. I have sent a file to this effect to the Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs. »

“I am asking for your support to support these initiatives, support without which they will not be successful”

Joel Embiid

The colossus (2.13 m of muscle under the gauge), who has “never worn the colors of any national team”, assures that it would be “an immense honor to join this French team to participate in the next major competitions international events, first and foremost the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

“Also, I am asking for your support to support these initiatives, support without which they will not be successful. I am naturally at your disposal and those of your services to support this common ambition that we share with the French basketball team and its leaders. »

A “common ambition” has now vanished since the MVP of the NBA regular season in 2023 has since obtained American nationality and opted for selection with the Star-Spangled Banner this fall. “I was not present at the interviews with the ministry for his passport, but I think he was committed to wearing the jersey… His passport is linked to the jersey, it is a truism to say that, regretted Jean- Pierre Siutat, president of the FFBB, in October. It’s a disappointment because we spent time and energy on this issue. But now the subject is behind. Let’s move on to something else. »

Contacted this Thursday, the Federation did not wish to “express itself on this letter”. The possible reunion this summer during the Paris Games promises to be exciting.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *