The Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid has spent his entire adult life living in the United States. But it was only recently that he officially became an American.
Speaking with the Associated Press earlier this week, Embiid revealed that he was sworn in as an American citizen in early September.
“I’ve been here for a long time,” Embiid said. “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 was born in Cameroon and originally wanted to play volleyball professionally. He only started playing basketball at the age of 15 and was soon discovered by former NBA pro Luc Mbah a Moute at one basketball camp.
With the help of Mbah a Moute, Embiid moved to the U.S. as a 16-year-old to try and become a professional basketball player. After playing high school basketball with Montverde Academy and Florida’s The Rock School, Embiid received an offer to enroll at the University of Kansas.
Following a stellar freshman season with Kansas, which was cut short by a stress fracture in his foot, Embiid declared for the 2014 NBA Draft. He was selected by the 76ers with the third overall pick, and the rest is history in the making.
After sitting out his rookie year due to an injury, Joel Embiid went on to establish himself as the face of the 76ers. He was also the biggest reason for the franchise’s resurgence from a lottery team to a championship contender. Since 2018, Embiid has received five straight All-Star nods and made the All-NBA Second Team four times. He was an MVP finalist twice and led the league in scoring with 30.6 points per game in 2021-22.