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All About Team USA's Joel Embiid and His "Beautiful" Bond with Son Arthur

The Olympic basketball player's wife, Anna de Paul, said of the father and son, "They are like best friends."

By Clara Faulkner

Joel Embiid, the towering center for the Philadelphia 76ers, has carved out a reputation as one of the NBA's most formidable forces.

Known for his presence on the court, sense of humor, and social media outreach, Embiid has caught the attention of fans across the globe. Having played over 433 career games at 30-years-old, Embiid is preparing to add another chapter to his story by representing Team USA at Paris 2024, per the NBA.

Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, he began playing basketball at the age of 15. After playing college basketball for the Kansas Jayhawks at the University of Kansas for one season from 2013 to 2014, he quickly made a name for himself on the court. The basketball player was selected as a third overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, per Sports Illustrated.

According to NBC Sports, while Embiid had the unique opportunity to represent France at the Olympics due to his citizenship, the basketball player chose to represent Team USA.

“It [the deadline] wasn’t much of a factor, but it was put out there,” Embiid said. “I wouldn’t have made this decision if I wasn’t ready. ... I kind of wanted to get it over with. I’ve been asked these questions since last year.”

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As the NBA powerhouse gears up to compete for Olympic gold, his journey from the heart of Cameroon to the pinnacle of professional basketball takes a new significance.

Read more to go beyond the highlights and the headlines of Embiid ahead of Paris 2024. 

He’s married to Brazilian model Anne de Paula

Joel Embiid pose with his wife Anne De Paula in Miami

Off the court, Embiid shares his life with his 28-year-old wife, Anne de Paula, a Brazilian Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model.

The couple, who met through a mutual friend at a 2018 party in New York and quickly became friends, managed a long-distance relationship through social media and FaceTime, per People.

In a 2019 interview with Maxim magazine, de Paula claimed it is "not easy" to catch her attention. The model was "never looking for anything when I am single," but said that Embiid caught her eye at the party by "just being himself."

According to People, the pair tied the knot on July 22, 2023, in a New York ceremony. 

All About Joel's Son Arthur

In September 2020, the duo welcomed their first child, Arthur Elijah, into their lives. His name holds a special place in the couple's hearts. According to People, their son is named in remembrance of Embiid's younger brother, Arthur, who lost his life in a car accident in Cameroon in 2014 at 13-years-old.

"Honestly, he's the main reason why I'm really here," Embiid said during a May 2023 press conference, People reported. "Becoming a father changed my whole life and I just wanted to show him a good example, and I'm glad he is here with us. My fiancée is a big part of it, too."

Following the birth of their son, de Paula couldn't help but notice how fatherhood changed Embiid.

"He just has this personality where he wants to motivate you," de Paula told ESPN in 2021. "His friends, his family and now with Arthur — he pushes all of us to be the best of ourselves. That's the type of person you want to have around."

De Paula speaks fondly of her husband's role within Arthur's life, highlighting the joy seeing their bond. 

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"They are like best friends," she told ESPN. "When Arthur sees him, there is no one else in the room. It is the most beautiful thing ever. It almost felt like, with their connection, Arthur sensed something was going on."

De Paula grew up in Rio de Janeiro, where she embraced both modeling and soccer from a young age.  In a 2018 interview with Fox News, she shared, "It's been a while [since] I've played because you have to keep your nails looking nice for this job. But if I had some free time, I would definitely go back to Brazil and play."

Her Sports Illustrated debut began in 2017 where she was featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, after winning the fan vote. The fan vote is an annual event where fans of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue can vote for their favorite models. De Paula attributes her early start in modeling to her mother, who encouraged and supported her from the beginning of her career. 

"I loved sports, but I also liked this girly version of myself. I wasn't popular in school. I wasn't successful with the boys," she told Fox News. "They never really looked at me like a girl because I was always playing with them … So, I just started doing more and more photos until my mom sent me to an agency at 13. So, she was the one who got me into it!"

His Social Media Activity

Joel Embiid runs on the court during a basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies

Embiid isn't just dominating the paint for the Philadelphia 76ers, he's also winning the social media game with his charismatic posts and witty banter. On platforms like Instagram and X, he's redefining athlete engagement, making fans laugh while giving them an inside look at life both on and off the court.

The athlete is known for "trolling" social media, making fans guess what his next move is. According to Sports Illustrated, in 2023, Embiid changed his social media bio, removing Philadelphia. This change sparked a viral frenzy from fans, causing them to believe he was leaving the organization. 

The athlete proved to not have plans to leave the organization in 2023 — he was just playing a joke on the basketball community. Embiid changed his bio for a limited time to “Troel," humorously playing along with his internet antics.

While he enjoys joking with fans, he is also known to throw shade on the internet from time to time.

The athlete threw shade at the Milwaukee Bucks for trading away Boston Celtics player Jrue Holiday, who led the Celtics to their 18th NBA title. Embiid took to X to write, "Did the bucks give them the championship?" 

Whether it's poking fun at rival teams or responding to commentary, Embiid's social media antics keep his followers growing. With over 7.6 million followers on Instagram and 2.1 million followers on X, his online influence extends beyond sports seasons, captivating fans year-round.

"I wanna troll but there's literally no sports on right now," he wrote on X on July 1. Good thing the Olympics are coming up!

Don't Miss

Watch live coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 26, on NBC and Peacock beginning at 12 p.m. ET. Telemundo will provide Spanish-language coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Primetime coverage starts at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC and Peacock.