Monday, May 20, 2024

Former Knicks Pick Blasts ‘Dirty Guy’ Joel Embiid

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Another member of the New York Knicks community is taking issue with the United States’ men’s national basketball team Olympic roster, but Jalen Brunson has nothing to do his qualms.

Frederic Weis, one of the most infamous names in both New York and Olympic basketball lore, has taken issue with Knicks playoff opponent Joel Embiid, tearing apart in the reigning NBA MVP for spurning the French national squad to play with the Americans in an interview with radio station RMC from his native France.

Embiid, whose Philadelphia 76ers are currently facing the Knicks in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, was granted both American and French citizenship in 2022 as he prepped to partake in his first Olympics. The native Cameroonian eventually chose to play with the former and was included on the Olympic roster unveiled last week.


Apr 20, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) grabs a rebound in

“I consider this boy a great player as much as he is a dirty guy,” Weis emphatically declared, as transcribed by EuroHoops. “I hate him for the things that he did.”

In metropolitan eyes, Weis is best-known as the 15th overall pick of the 1999 NBA Draft, where the Knicks enlisted his services over those of Queens native, St. John’s alum, and future NBA All-Star/champion Metta Sandiford-Artest (then-known as Ron Artest), who went to the Chicago Bulls immediately after.

The 7-2 Weis later gained international infamy when Vince Carter dunked over him during Team USA’s run to Olympic gold when they faced Les Bleus during pool play at the 2000 Games in Sydney. Weis never played a game for the Knicks but was a four-time All-Star in the French League and now serves as an analyst in his homeland.

Weis is particularly peeved about the notion that Embiid took advantage of gaining a French passport, reasoning that so many others without the benefit of his athletic abilities have gone without.

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Apr 20, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) looks to post up

“I think he doesn’t have any respect for France and also for all the people who are asking for a French passport and don’t get it,” he said. “Under the pretext that he is a great athlete, he got it. I find it scandalous, I find it embarrassing. I don’t care about his excuses, cause they are his words, and his words mean nothing.”

“We must put in context one thing: Joel Embiid is an extraordinary basketball player,” Weis continued. “He was the MVP of the NBA last year and that’s why France decided to give him the passport last summer because, on the sporting level, we would have amazing gains.  For me, we are living in an era of sports business and now we are choosing the national team, pretty much the way we are choosing our club. Who gives me the better offer? Who is giving me the best chance to win? I will go there, and, unfortunately, that’s accepted pretty much everywhere”. 

Weis hinted that the best for France to take revenge would be to prevail in the upcoming Summer Games, which will be staged in Paris. With Embiid and several other NBA All-Stars in tow, the Americans will enter as the overwhelming favorites but Weis recalled that the French kept things close during the last Olympic gold medal game in 2021 in Tokyo. France, in fact, won in pool play, partly backed by 28 points from then-Knick Evan Fournier, before the Americans took revenge with an 87-82 triumph in the finale.

“Just remember what happened in 2021,” Weis said. “We were in the final against the USA, and the final margin was close. France was always in the top echelon of the contenders.”

Embiid has a different brand of gold on his mind for the time being, namely the Larry O’Brien Trophy. His 76ers face the Knicks that Weis left behind on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG/TNT).

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