This is the hot topic of the moment for basketball fans in France: Joel Embiid could obtain French nationality in order to play with the France team. Questioned by Antoine Bancharel of the newspaper l’Équipe, Nicolas Batum gave his opinion on a possible arrival of Jojo in the blue jersey.
Tricolor fans have been in shock since the beginning of the week. Joel Embiid, the Sixers superstar and candidate for the MVP would have started the administrative procedures to obtain French nationality, which would allow him to be called by Vincent Collet within the France team. Such a bomb could not leave observers indifferent and since Monday opinions are more than divided. There are those who insist on the weak connection between the player and France (he has never lived and played there) and there are those who are salivating in advance at the idea of integrating a from the best players in the world to a team that has only gone from strength to strength in recent years, falling just five points behind Team USA for Olympic gold. In all this turmoil, it is of course the players the first concerned and several had already taken a position in the past. In 2018, when the first rumors of an association between Joel Embiid and France had emerged, Evan Fournier, Nicolas Batum and Ian Mahinmi had underlined the “ethical problem” around a player joining a country with which he has no ties. 4 years later, the subject is again on the table and Antoine Bancharel from the newspaper the team went to ask Nicolas Batum what he thought of Jojo’s potential arrival with the Blues. If the French captain remains divided on the ethical question, he seems more excited by the possible striking power that France would present with such a player in its ranks.
“I can understand that it’s ethically disturbing, but from a basketball point of view… I put myself on both sides: player-captain, but also fan! And an Embiid-Gobert racket, p****n! So here it is, ethically, I understand, but “basketball”…
It’s clear that having two of the best pivots in the NBA to cement the racket would freak out a lot of people, including the American rivals. Even if their association can give rise to some questions in terms of complementarity, who would not want to have Rudy Gobert and Joel Embiid in their team? But, as Batman reminds us, several elements remain unresolved to see Jojo with the rooster jersey.
“Ethically, this raises questions. On the basketball side, there are zero to ask. But this hypothesis, adding an MVP level player, is up for discussion. With the group, with the coach… The group has to be ok. But again, we are in a huge hypothesis. »
Given the public opposition in the past, it is true that a consensus within the locker room seems essential to allow this arrival. On the other hand, and it’s always important to mention it, this is not the first time that Joel Embiid has been associated with the Blues. 2014, 2018, we heard this “sea serpent” subject come up on the table several times and nothing happened. Nicolas Batum explains it by the way, we remain for the moment on a rumor in the media and we have to wait for a speech from Embiid to really know what it is.
“In 2014, we discussed the subject together, when Joel had just been drafted. He tells me that they talked about it with Boris – I don’t know who started the story, by the way – and I’m surprised. But hey, it’s still unclear, because he’s injured, so he’s not coming. If everything had gone well, he would have been here in 2015 I think.
In 2018, he talks about it publicly and it’s over the top… Behind, I’m not really the subject and there’s no need for it because we’re still very good. I saw that it came out on Monday and that Boris confirmed it to you, but afterwards, I don’t know more. But beware, this is still a rumor. We have not heard from the main interested party, already. »
We remain on something still vague therefore and it will be necessary for the Sixers player to take an open position to get an idea of the probability that all this will lead to something. Lots of hype in the media and among fans but the Blue group does not seem to be making a tidal wave of this information. The proof: Nico Batum assures that the subject did not even appear in the players’ discussion group on Monday. To see if that will change if the Philly star speaks.
Joel Embiid and the French team, it’s not necessarily no for Nicolas Batum but it is still necessary that all the conditions are met. The naturalization papers, the agreement of the group and the coach, the will of Jojo, many things are still uncertain at the time of writing these lines. See you on the next episode.
Text source: Antoine Bancharel / the Team
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