INTERVIEW – The NBA put on a show in Paris all week leading up to the Bulls’ 126-108 victory over the Pistons on Thursday night at Accor Arena.
at the Accor Arena
“Even before the match, I can say that this trip was a success“smiled Adam Silver on Wednesday, on the eve of Chicago-Detroit. Of course, the big boss of the NBA league did not change his mind after the second regular season game in Paris after Milwaukee-Charlotte in 2020. Accor Arena was sold out (tickets sold out in less than 30 minutes) and began to explode despite the holidays. , a record number of broadcasters, partners: the NBA is at home in Paris. The young (21) French leader of the Pistons, Killian Hayes, was a little more, he was invited to say a few words before the game from the center of the court.Killian, we must provide“Tony Parker slipped as master of ceremonies. Released. Clumsy former Choletais (2/13) with 4 points and 7 assists to Bulls (126-108) Zach LaVine (30 points), DeMar DeRozan (26 points) and Nikola Vucevic (16 pts. 15 rbs), winners of what Mr. Silver described as “The closest thing to a European All Star Game“.
There was really something to go wrong, the match started at a high altitude, with a lot of dunks and other great moves, where Hayes signed a spawn between the legs of Vucevic, DeRoza has a pass to Vucevic in the back… The atmosphere before the start was the usual NBA entertainment, Pistons DJ , stepped up with popular mascot Benny The Bull… A classy yet well-crafted pre-match performance. Hayes was the first to enter the floor when the Detroit team entered for warm-ups as a guide.
Hayes, who has been in form of late, dreams of golden luck, following in the footsteps of French stars Joakim Noah, Mike Piétrus, Ronny Turiaf and TP Thursday. “He had pressure, I was a little scared… The Bulls played well defensively, but missed shots the past few months.“, Detroit coach Dwane Casey concluded. “This is frustrating. Being in France, I wanted to play a big match… It wasn’t my day, but it is. Pressure? Nope. I was taking the shots I usually take“, the former Choletais regretted in front of the press.
Magic, Verratti, Gasly in the stands
The NBA also brought several famous faces to the front row, such as Magic Johnson, who sat next to Pharrell Williams on their suitcases. Obviously, future French star Victor Vembanyama, the future No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, was there. This is the case for F1 pilots Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon and Charles Leclerc, judo player Teddy Riner or footballers Aurélien Tchouaméni and Marco Verratti. We imagine some of the latter’s teammates would have liked to have been there, with Kylian Mbappe leading the charge, but PSG were away to Saudi Arabia on Thursday. Again, the stars were on the floor as much as the stands for this event, a regular season match in Paris, an important match. And the Bulls are back for the first time since their 1997 preseason game. At that time, Michael Jordan was entering his last season in the Illinois club. Times have changed, but the myth still sells. Chicago is also one of the most “bankable” teams internationally according to NBA figures.
I am pleased and proud of the NBA’s choice to make France and Paris one of the most beloved playgrounds in the world.
The North American league was therefore a hit across the board in Paris. This happened during the week through various events in the capital, young and old. Adam Silver also took the opportunity to meet with President Macron on Wednesday and announced on Thursday that the NBA “a collaboration of several initiatives whose aim is to highlight basketball at all levels in France and Africa“. Future partnership with the French Federation (FFBB) and the National Basketball League (LNB). “I am pleased and proud of the NBA’s choice to make France and Paris one of the most beloved playgrounds in the world, Emmanuel Macron said in a statement. This reflects France’s longstanding special relationship with the NBA.Undoubtedly, the most pleasant and simple meeting for the President of the Republic in the last days of social tension.
On the game side, the Bulls weren’t in All Star Game mode. In any case, it’s not enough to forget about their goals, they are 10th in the East, ahead of the Pistons, 14th and second to last. They led throughout the first period, often by double digits. 65-56 at halftime. Attack game. A well-populated press gallery (over 200 accredited) is enough to please this good-natured, happy, family-oriented and quite international audience.
Shortly after the restart, Detroit’s lineup of past glories took center field, with Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace, as well as Magic, winning the award at the ovation counter. Respect. In the game, Vucevic was more subdued than at the beginning of the match, but despite the dunk contest winner in 2019 Hamidou Diallo (17 points), who we saw with the youth this week, the Bulls still lead. Paris Saint-Germain training center.
Zach LaVine brings it all together in the second half
The level of play went up a notch as the minutes ticked by, with second half and man of the match LaVine hitting a big dunk for the show. Dwane Casey’s players had the merit of not letting go, of keeping more or less contact. Good for the fans, good for the tension. When they desperately needed an address, they tried everything for everything, attacking the circle for a little more belief. The tension, but not the reversal of the situation, DeRozan and company “money-time” (126-108 final score), in such a special context and in the end did not lose the thread despite what all the actors described “great experience“. All of them “great atmosphereFrom Bercy. “It was a privilege to be a part of this eventDeRozan concludes.
So Chicago pockets the win, but of course, it’s the NBA that emerges as the biggest winner of this streak. Adam Silver has made no secret that he expects to return to Bercy next year. It’s not official yet, but it’s the same thing… Same for Wemby, not officially in the NBA yet, but already part of the family. As Mr. Silver said on Wednesday, Magic, who left minutes before the end, took the time to shake his hand… Everyone wants to get close to this phenomenon, the other star of the evening.
The hype is crazy. Unheard of for a player who has yet to play in the NBA since LeBron James! “This is a talent we haven’t seen beforeHayes encourages. He’s 2.21m, shoots, dribbles and moves like a 1.90 guy! Impressive, you don’t see that every day… Wherever he goes, he will help his team both offensively and defensively. A great future awaits him.Who knows, maybe we’ll see the 19-year-old prodigy in June in Detroit, one of the worst teams in the US league standings, and therefore one of the teams with the best chance of producing the next face of France and perhaps the world. Basketball. The NBA is looking forward to the French giant. France is waiting for the NBA with the same appetite.