Joel Embiid is now an American citizen


“Citizen of the world” is now an even more appropriate title for Joel Embiid.

The Sixers’ All-Star center was officially sworn in as an American citizen two weeks ago in Philadelphia, he told The Associated Press’ Dan Gelston on Thursday at the team’s training camp in Charleston, South Carolina. 

“I’ve been here for a long time,” Embiid told the AP. “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?”

Embiid, who was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, became a French citizen in July.

He moved to the United States at 16 years old. Now 28, he’s a five-time All-Star, two-time MVP runner-up, and last season’s NBA scoring champion. The No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft, Embiid is also the longest-tenured Sixers by a wide margin; 2016 first-rounder Furkan Korkmaz is closest to him. 

Inevitably, Embiid’s multiple citizenships will spark further speculation about which country he might represent in international basketball. The 2024 Olympics will be held in Paris, France. 

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he told the AP.

As for the upcoming season, Embiid emphasized defense at his media-day session Monday.

He steered a question about his chemistry with James Harden back to that end of the floor. 

“Obviously our pick-and-roll was almost unstoppable — probably unstoppable,” Embiid said. “And a lot of things change when you’re playing against teams that switch everything, but we know what we have to do.

“But I’d say our focus is on defense. We aim to be the best defensive team in the league, and that’s going to take all of us. I’ve got to get back to not waiting until the fourth (quarter) to be that guy — doing it all game. … We’ve got the pieces. For me, coming into this year, we just want to focus on that.”

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