76ers' Dalembert to play for Canada after gaining citizenship

Updated: August 7, 2007, 8:17 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Samuel Dalembert was sworn in as a Canadian citizen on Tuesday, clearing the way for the Philadelphia 76ers center to join the Canadian national team.

The 6-foot-11 Dalembert, who averaged 10.7 points and 8.9 rebounds for the Sixers last season, moved to Canada as a teenager. He won a Quebec High School championship and played on Quebec's provincial basketball team.

Dalembert, who lived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, until his early teens, still has family in the Montreal area.

"I wanted to join the Canadian team in 2003 but had a surgery and was out for their season and so it didn't work out,'' Dalembert said. "But in the back of my mind I knew I always wanted to play for Canada, and this time it worked out and just seemed to fit. To have the chance to play in the Olympics is really something special.''

Canada's national team, coached by former Sixers player Leo Rautins, is training for the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament.

"Sam is a humble but driven individual, that has stepped up to lead the charge of helping Canada assume its place among the best in the world,'' Rautins said.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press