HomeSportsPhiladelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid becomes a US citizen

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid becomes a US citizen


Joel Embiid has tried to keep the ruse alive: that he was nothing more than a 7-foot couch potato this summer. To hear Embiid say it, every day was easy as a lazy Sunday morning.

His biggest offseason accomplishment? “Sleep,” she said with a laugh on Thursday.

The Philadelphia 76ers franchise center might not have been exaggerating about his desire for a little R&R.

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FILE – In this Feb. 19, 2021, file photo, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts after scoring a basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Philadelphia. Embiid is having the best season for a 76ers big man since Moses Malone and has his team atop the Eastern Conference standings heading into the second half of the season.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Embiid and his Brazilian girlfriend have a 2-year-old son. That can put even the greatest of big men out of business. He underwent rigorous training this summer by his longtime personal trainer in Beverly Hills.

And there was a pressing personal process: A native of Cameroon who also has French citizenship, Embiid was sworn in two weeks ago in Philadelphia as an American citizen.

“I’ve been here a long time,” Embiid told The Associated Press Thursday 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 one season at the University of Kansas before the 76ers selected him as the third player in the 2014 draft. The natural question that arises is, which country could represent Embiid in international basketball? Embiid dismissed the speculation, saying it was too early for him to think about the Olympics or other international tournaments.

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

After missing his first two seasons with injuries, Embiid has been the dominant force in the NBA for 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 to win a title. NBA score. He is a five-time All-Star and was runner-up in each of the last two seasons behind Denver’s Nikola Jokic in MVP voting.

In this photo taken on January 6, 2020, Joel Embiid looks at his injured finger during an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Philadelphia.  Embiid injured the radial collateral ligament in his ring finger in the first half Monday night against Oklahoma City.

In this photo taken on January 6, 2020, Joel Embiid looks at his injured finger during an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Philadelphia. Embiid injured the radial collateral ligament in his ring finger in the first half Monday night against Oklahoma City.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Embiid, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris and PJ Tucker could make up the Sixers’ strongest lineup since 2019 and they have a legitimate shot at contending for an NBA championship. Coach Doc Rivers, in his third season, knows that the burden of scoring is not a democracy, it starts with the Big Man. And even Embiid has room to grow.

“It’s about continuing to improve to be a teammate and make everyone else better,” Rivers said. “That’s the next step, dominate. Give room for James to dominate. Give room for Tyrese to dominate. Give room for Tobias to have a big game. I think he’s actually doing it now.”

Embiid also averaged 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists to help the 76ers reach the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second straight year. Embiid averaged 23.6 points and 10.7 rebounds in the postseason despite playing with an orbital fracture. He had offseason surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb sustained in the playoffs and a procedure to repair an injury to his left index finger.

Embiid said his thumb “isn’t the same yet.”

“You can’t control freak accidents,” Embiid said. “I need to move on. I’m only doing this for 20 years. I need to do it all while I can.”

76ER’S TYRESE MAXEY BECOMES THE STAR PLAYER NEEDED TO PUSH FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP

With a commitment to durability, Embiid spent his summer again with coach Drew Hanlen, an unaffiliated NBA guru to many stars, watching countless hours of video and working on techniques that could improve his shortcomings. Embiid was known early in his career for sucking up Shirley Temples, but has worked with sports dieticians to develop healthier eating habits and streamline his workouts.

And yes, Hanlen said, Embiid has better sleep habits. When he’s awake, Embiid gets down to business.

“We know teams can’t guard it one-on-one anymore. They have to send multiple defenders and they have to send them fast,” Hanlen said by phone. “That’s the biggest thing, we’ve tried to expand his game and grow his game to counter that.”

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) faces Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series , on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Miami.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) faces Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series , on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Miami.
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Hanlen and Embiid have analyzed films about the NBA careers of former stars like Kobe Bryant, Hakeem Olajuwan and Dirk Nowitzki. When Embiid wanted to study those NBA greats more during the playoffs, Hanlen laughed as he remembered there was nothing more he could give his prized student. Embiid had all the field goals made by Nowitzki and others in a folder on his computer. But there was a lot in Embiid’s postseason performance to analyze.

“One of the things we saw was when teams were playing him and he couldn’t catch the ball in favorable spots, he couldn’t dominate the game like he did in the regular season,” Hanlen said. “The biggest thing we wanted to do was find a way to counter that so he could build his own offense without having to rely on post tackles and plays.”

Hanlen also wanted Embiid to “be more comfortable driving from the perimeter and shooting around the basket.”

Embiid wants it all now: the ring, the parade, the MVP, defensive awards. Sixers fans can enjoy it for years to come. Embiid’s four-year, $196 million contract extension doesn’t take effect until next season and takes him through 2026-27.

“I feel like there’s a reason I was lucky enough to be the leading scorer last year,” Embiid said. “I feel like I’m good enough to put myself in any position to score the ball. At the end of the day, when I get the ball, it’s not about me scoring the ball. It’s about me making plays for myself and my teammates.” . .”

Embiid became the face of the 76ers’ rebuilding effort, better known as The Process. He adopted the nickname and introduces himself before every home game as Joel “The Process” Embiid. He was also featured as a Kansas player until he traded him to Cameroon midway through the season last year. Embiid’s triple-threat nationality could give PA broadcaster Matt Cord a mouthful this season.

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“We’re going to say Cameroon, American and French,” Embiid told the AP with a laugh.



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