On the eve of the NBA Paris Game between Milwaukee and Charlotte in Bercy, the boss of the great American league Adam Silver announced Thursday that another match would take place in 2021 and that the NBA would stay in Paris "for many years".
Q: Will there be another game in Paris next year and will the NBA settle in Paris for a long time?
A: "We will come back. We will be playing again next year in January. We don't know which teams yet. We are already talking to several of them. We already have too many candidates! This year's match has not still happened but we see the huge interest in people, who are still trying to buy tickets, in the media and in an unprecedented number of sponsors. We will be in Paris for many years, even if at the moment the only commitment we have is for next year. "
Q: What makes Paris attractive to the NBA and why did you leave London after nine years?
A: "Firstly the fact that France is a big market for basketball. There is a long tradition, a first class federation which produces a surprisingly high number of NBA players. There are also the close relationships between France and the United States. It’s a very attractive market for fans, not only for Americans but all over Europe. This mid-season event has become in many ways like a European All Star Game What also helps is that Paris is a beautiful city, with first class hotels, restaurants, tourist activity. These are the same reasons that make people from all over the world visit Paris. It was not a question of a lack of popularity in London, it was time to move in. There was a long period during which the arena (de Bercy) was under renovation, then it had to catch up calendar delay with other events, which filled the room and delayed our return by a few years. "
Q: How were the franchises chosen?
A: "It is a combination of factors. It depends on the interest of the teams, the popularity of their players, sometimes their connection with certain markets. This year we have Milwaukee who is at the head of the league and who has a European player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, our latest MVP. Charlotte has a French player (Nicolas Batum) and Michael Jordan (the owner) wanted to return to Paris where he was immensely popular as a player. Many teams would like to play. advantage for those of the Eastern conference because the trip is easier. We never had to force the teams because we have a lot of volunteers. "
Words gathered during a press point
© 2020 AFP