Cameroonian-born NBA star Joel Embiid wrote his name in the history books on Monday night after he scored 70 points against the San Antonio Spurs to break a Philadelphia 76ers record Wilt Chamberlain had held since 1967.
Besides setting the franchise-scoring record in their 133-123 victory over the Spurs, the 29-year-old reigning MVP also grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds, The Associated Press reported. NBA champion and Hall of Famer Chamberlain had held the 76ers scoring record until Embiid’s stellar performance on Monday. The deceased NBA legend set that record on December 16, 1967, after scoring 68 points.
But Chamberlain continues to hold the NBA scoring record with his historic 100-point game against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962. He was with the Philadelphia Warriors at the time.
Embiid has had an impressive season this year as he has scored at least 30 points in the last 21 games. The 76ers Monday game against the Spurs was also the first time Embiid and star rookie Victor Wembanyama squared up this season. Embiid said matching up against the talented 20-year-old gave him extra motivation for his purpose each night, The Associated Press reported.
“I wouldn’t sit here and lie to you, but that’s my mindset every single game,” the six-time All-Star said. “My mindset is to attack, dominate offensively and defensively, so tonight was no different.”
In October last year, Face2Face Africa reported that Embiid had turned down France and Cameroon and opted to represent Team USA at the 2024 Paris Olympics. According to ESPN, sources said the 29-year-old notified Team USA executive director Grant Hill of his commitment on October 5.
The two had also initially met to discuss Embiid representing Team USA at the Sixers’ training camp in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Cameroonian-born basketball star disclosed he had held discussions with officials from the French team, but he opted to commit to Team USA following his meeting with Hill.
“I just wanted to make sure that I was making the right decision, and it just took me one last meeting with all parties involved and went ahead,” Embiid said.
Born in Yaounde, Cameroon, Embiid moved to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a professional basketball career. He was ultimately granted French and American citizenship in 2022. Besides Team USA, the French national basketball team was also keen on having him represent their country at the Olympics. The 29-year-old said choosing which of the three countries to represent was “tough.”
“I love all three options, you know, with my home country, which I love a lot,” Embiid said. “But I really want to participate in the Olympics, that’s been my goal and my dream. And you add that with the fact that my son is American, and I’ve been here for such a long time. … I’m really thankful for the opportunity. France — the commitment they were willing to make — I really appreciate it. It was a tough decision.”
Embiid also spoke about how his son Arthur influenced his decision. The 3-year-old is an American citizen. “I feel like for the past few years, since [Arthur] has been born, every decision has been made just based on family,” he said. “My family, my son, and having the chance to represent a country like USA.”