Pro basketball teams in Qatar often recruit young African players, and Biyombo was given a contract offer at age 16. The bigger challenge was getting there. Traveling with friends hoping to find basketball jobs, Biyombo’s journey to Qatar came to a quick halt in Tanzania, when he was detained for lacking the proper documentation. “They thought we were running from the Congo because of the struggle there,” Biyombo said. “That was my first time being in a jail. I never wanted to be in a jail. Every time I see police, I was scared because of how I grew up. They arrested us at 3 a.m. and they released me about 6 a.m. The smell was terrible. I wouldn’t say the prison was like a jail. A jail in Africa is nothing close to a jail in the United States. People would be happy to be in a jail [in the U.S.].”
Joel Embiid is back in Qatar. This time, the 76ers center has some team personnel with him. Embiid left Philadelphia this week and will spend the next several weeks at Aspetar, an orthopedic and sports medicine hospital located in Doha, Qatar. He had a lot of success there, and the team wanted to send him back for more treatment, according to a source.