Sixers center Joel Embiid seems to be enjoying a lovely trip to China with his girlfriend Anne De Paula. The two have been posting a slew of romantic photos together from vacation, but it was what viewers spotted on De Paula’s finger that sparked the latest rumors.
De Paula, the Brazilian bombshell and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model, appeared to flash a wedding ring on her left hand when the two were riding high above the trees on a chair lift on their way to the top of the Great Wall of China. The cute video, part of Embiid’s Instagram story, is hilarious in its own right as the footage shows a scared Embiid nervously joking that he’s “too big” for the lift and “this thing is too dangerous.”
“No way, no way I’m ever doing this again,” Embiid said in the video. “This is too hard for me. I am walking down! We are walking down!”
The two are laughing uncontrollably while gasping for air. They appear to be genuinely terrified, yet totally in love with each other. Of course, fans on Reddit and Twitter were quick to hone in on the shiny bling hanging from De Paula’s finger.
Was it an engagement ring? Did Embiid pop the question earlier on their vacation? For the record, there are no official posts announcing any upcoming nuptials.
NBC Sports’ Marc Farzetta was the first sleuth on the case as he dug up evidence that De Paula has been seen wearing a similar ring in previous photographs. More importantly, after further review, she is wearing the ring on her right hand — not the traditional left hand for engagements. As Faretta points out, De Paula looks like she is sporting a ring on her left hand in the Instagram story because the camera is flipped.
Either way, it’s clear that Embiid has moved on from his first celebrity crush. When he first entered the NBA, he made several overtures at superstar singer Rihanna. Embiid mentioned that he was “onto the next one” in 2018 during an interview with ESPN’s Doris Burke. Four years earlier, Rihanna threw shade at Embiid when she told him to “come back when you’re an All-Star.”
Well, Embiid kept his part of the deal and apparently has moved on. The Sixers big man is a two-time All-Star after averaging 24.3 points and 11.4 rebounds per game in his first three seasons. He has also led Philadelphia to the second round of the playoffs during that time. The Sixers are expected to enter free agency with gusto after June 30 and rumored to be in the mix for Kawhi Leonard and others.