Basketball player Nicolas Batum feels "a little pride" on the eve of being the first Frenchman to play an NBA regular season game in France with his franchise, the Charlotte Hornets, against the Milwaukee Bucks, Friday (9:00 p.m.) in Bercy.
QUESTION: What is your feeling before playing this game?
ANSWER: "This is a pretty touching moment in a career. As a non-American player, playing an NBA game in your own country is quite special. Tony (Parker) and Rony (Turiaf) have played matches (preseason, editor's note), but this is an official match. It's a bit of a mark in history. To be the first to do that is a little pride. The first NBA game I have seen in + live +, it was here (in Paris) in 2003 when the (San Antonio) Spurs played against Memphis (in pre-season friendly match). I was fourteen years old, I was sitting at the top almost on the last Seventeen years later, being part of that shows that I have come a long way. "
Q: Do your teammates enjoy the event?
A: "Yes, they are all happy. They are excited to discover Paris for many of them. There is everyone, their wives, their children. It is also a small break for them. They pose a lot of questions. It's cool to come here and let them know something new. I'm doing the tourist office a bit. I'm trying to guide them to the main + spots +: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, tonight some go to the Sacré Coeur at night, a few restaurants, walk the Champs-Élysées. We only have two days, it's not easy to go around Paris! "
Q: Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece will be the star of the game. What do you think of him?
A: "He is someone who is making history and making a lasting impression. It is good for the fans to see him in person. We have rarely seen players like him, to say the least. His size, his physique, his athleticism, the sense of play he has, it's quite new. He is revolutionizing (basketball) with a game without position, we don't know what position he is in, he's just on the field. Now that it becomes more reliable in shooting, it will become an unstoppable machine. "
Words gathered during a press point
© 2020 AFP