JOHANNESBURG – He “killed a lion” as a six-year-old, had a “relationship” with Rihanna and has attempted to “recruit” LeBron James to be his teammate.
Now, Joel Embiid is coming to South Africa to dazzle basketball fans with those immense skills that make him a crowd favourite with the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA.
The Cameroon-born centre is a member of the Team Africa outfit that will square up to Team World in the third NBA Africa Game set for August 4.
Whereas the last two games were hosted in Joburg, this one will go to Pretoria, with the Sun Arena at Time Square in Menlyn the venue for what is expected to again be a sell-out.
“I was fortunate to participate in Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa first as a camper and then last year as a coach,” Embiid said. “To play in the NBA’s third game in Africa is truly special to me, and I can’t wait to take the floor in front of our fans in Africa.”
Embiid adopted the nickname “Process” in response to a refrain from 76ers fans to “trust the process”.
In a recent interview with the Dan Patrick Show, he detailed how he killed a lion as a six-year-old, describing the killing as “part of a rite of passage”.
Making the announcement of the match, NBA vice president and managing director for Africa Amadoud Gallo Fall said staging the game again is an illustration of just how much they want to see the sport prosper in Africa.
“Hosting the NBA Africa Game for the third time in four years is a testament to our commitment to growing the game in Africa. We look forward to working with the NBPA (National Basketball Players Association) once again and all our partners to bring the authentic NBA experience to our fans in South Africa and the rest of the continent.
This game and the community events in the week leading up to it will further build on our efforts to use the transformative power of the game of basketball to foster positive social change.”
The game will be played following another edition, the 16th, of BWB Africa. In honour of the centenary of Nelson Mandela, the game will be played in support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Team Africa will include:
Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011), Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers, US; parents from Nigeria), Bismack Biyombo (Orlando Magic; DR Congo), Cheick Diallo (New Orleans Pelicans; Mali), Evan Fournier (Magic; France; parent from Algeria), Serge Ibaka (Toronto Raptors; Congo Republic ), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (76ers; France; parent from DR Congo), and Pascal Siakam (Raptors; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2012).
Team World will include:
DeMar DeRozan (Raptors; US), Harrison Barnes (Dallas Mavericks; US), Danilo Gallinari (LA Clippers; Italy; BWB Europe 2003), Rudy Gay (San Antonio Spurs; US), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks; US), and Hassan Whiteside (Miami Heat; US).
Full squads, coaches and legends will be announced at a later date.
Tickets will be available on Friday, June 15 through Computicket.