Friday, May 24, 2024

Joel Embiid slammed by Fred Weis for choosing USA over France before 2024 Paris Olympics

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  • Embiid, who was born in Cameroon, has no ties to France & was raised in the USA
  • The Sixers star was selected in USA basketball’s Olympic roster just days ago
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Former New York Knicks draft bust Frederic Weis has slammed Joel Embiid for snubbing France to play for Team USA this summer, as he jokingly suggested that the NBA star should be banned from the 2024 Paris Olympics altogether. 

Weis – an Olympic silver medalist in 2000 and the victim of the notorious ‘dunk of death’ by Vince Carter – didn’t hold back while talking about Embiid – the reigning NBA MVP – on a French radio station Saturday. His comments come just days after Embiid was named on USA basketball’s Olympic roster

In March, French national basketball team president Jean-Pierre Siutat criticized the 76ers star for rebuffing the chance to play for Les Bleus two years after he started Embiid’s naturalization process to become a French citizen. 

Embiid, who was born in Cameroon, is also a naturalized U.S. Citizen since 2022, and can therefore play for his country of birth, the Star and Stripes, or France, despite having no ties to the latter. He rejected the chance to play for Cameroon in 2017.

‘I consider this boy a great player as much as he is a dirty guy. I hate him for the things that he did. 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. And 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,’ Weis said. 

Embiid - the NBA reigning MVP - in the 76ers' first-round matchup against the Knicks on Saturday

Knicks draft bust Frederic Weis has called out Joel Embiid for snubbing France for Team USA at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris

Weis, who was drafted as a first-round pick by the Knicks in 1999, never got to play in the NBA

Weis, who was drafted as a first-round pick by the Knicks in 1999, never got to play in the NBA

The former center, who never played professionally in the NBA despite being drafted as a first-round pick by the Knicks in 1999, further explained the French basketball federation’s logic to lure Embiid to the national team, and his reason for holding a grudge against the seven-time All-Star. 

‘We must put in context one thing: Joel Embiid is an extraordinary basketball player. 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,’ he said.

‘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 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 is also known for having been the victim of the notorious 'dunk of death' by Vince Carter

Weis is also known for having been the victim of the notorious ‘dunk of death’ by Vince Carter 

When it was pointed out to Weis that Embiid’s naturalization process to become a French citizen started in 2021, and that the player knew that the US were favorites to win gold at the Olympics this summer, Weis recalled what happened in Tokyo, three years ago.

‘Just remember what happened in 2021,’ he said talking about the Olympic final between France and the US, which ended in a narrow 87-82 win for the Star and Stripes. ‘We were in the final against the USA, and the final margin was close. France was always in the top echelon of the contenders.’ 

Asked how he would resolve the whole situation around Embiid, Weis seemingly joked: ‘I would take away from him the French nationality and I would ban him from entering France. You will not play in the Olympics. You will be come to the airport with Team USA and we will say: ”You don’t have the right to enter the territory, go to your home. You are Cameroonian, you are American, you are not French, go away.”’

Embiid dropped 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists in Philadelphia’s first game of a first-round playoff series against the Knicks on Saturday. Game 2 will be played at Madison Square Garden on Monday. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET. 

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