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Joel Embiid Officially Becomes United States Citizen

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The 28-year-old Cameroon native shared Thursday during 76ers training camp that he officially obtained citizenship after being sworn in two weeks ago in Philadelphia. Embiid, who graduated from high school in Florida and played one season at Kansas before getting drafted third overall in 2014, told AP his Brazilian girlfriend Anne de Paula and their two-year-old son were a big reason for the decision.

“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?”

Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Embiid’s road to the NBA began at age 16 when he moved to the U.S. one year after he began playing basketball. He enrolled at Montverde Academy, the alma mater of his mentor and former NBA player Luc Mbah a Moute, before transferring after his first year to The Rock School in Gainesville, Florida, where he eventually rose to national prominence.