Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks during training on Thursday in Bercy. - Thibault Camus / AP / SIPA

  • The Paris-Bercy hall hosts a regular season NBA game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday evening.
  • After eight years in London, the North American basketball league has finally decided to change its air.
  • Can this partnership last over time? This is the question that we will try to answer in this paper.

This is the big day. After having set down on French soil on Wednesday, the great circus of the NBA is in exceptional performance Friday in Paris for one evening and one evening only, with, on the program, a regular season match between the Milwaukee Bucks of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nico Batum's Charlotte Hornets.

Traditionally organized in London, this above-ground match has chosen this year to snub the English capital. Having a picnic in London is a sweet treat that delighted Paris City Hall. "We won this NBA game by biting it to the English, which is quite pleasant," says Jean-François Martins, sports assistant to Anne Hidalgo.

For former NBA backpacker Ronny Turiaf, it's a little dream come true, ten years after his arrival in Paris in pre-season match with the Knicks: "When I saw the NBA match in London, I was hoping that it is one day in Paris that it takes place. I know that French youth and Parisians want to have basketball right here. It's really exciting to see the craze around the match. For its part, the local of the stage Nicolas Batum already sees further.

“The NBA is very popular in France, there are a lot of French players who play there. It's a good thing for the French public that there is a match in Paris, he deserves it, said the Frenchman on the NBA website. I now hope that it will become a regular meeting in the coming seasons. ”

Indeed, the whole question is to know if this planetary event will be only one (or two ) shot (s) or if this marriage between the city of light and the stars of US basketball can stretch over time .

Paris votes for the long term

Last March, on the sidelines of the official announcement of this Bucks-Hornets poster, Jean-François Martins explained to us that Paris would be happy to sign so that this story is not just a stroke of an evening. “We want to permanently include basketball in Paris, we don't want it to be just a flash in the pan. This NBA match is announced for 2020 but we want to make it stay in 2021, 2022… We therefore told the NBA that we were willing to commit to the long term. But the discussion has focused on 2020 and 2021 for now. Things have changed a bit since then. The American national basketball league has also formalized Thursday the return of the NBA to Paris next year.

VIDEO. "We want to make this NBA match in Paris stay in 2021, 2022"

- 20 Minutes (@ 20Minutes) March 28, 2019

How? 'Or' What ? Detailed response from the sports assistant at the Paris City Hall. “We have been working for four years to remake Paris a city that counts in basketball in France and in the world. We invested in land, we supported and re-emerged a professional club in Paris. We are currently building a new basketball hall [the Paris Arena II at the Porte de la Chapelle]. And then we campaign around the world to make Paris a city of sporting events, with the Olympic Games, the Women's World Cup. This credibility, supported by the fact that we support the biggest streetball event in the world, Pier 54, on which all the biggest NBA players have come, that's all that allowed us to convince them. "

The NBA is not the only one to have been convinced by Parisian efforts. This is also the case for the American David Kahn, the new boss of the no less new Paris Basketball club (pro B). "The NBA has come to the same conclusion as I, namely that Paris is now the epicenter of basketball in Europe," said the Portland native. I sincerely mean it. And I think that can only get stronger in the future. The city, and even more so with the development of Greater Paris, will be perceived by the main shareholders of American basketball as the heart of basketball on this continent. As such, Friday's game is the perfect symbol. "

France, a juicy market for the NBA

"Shareholder", the word is dropped. It must also be said that with the NBA, attachment is often measured by the number of zeros before the decimal point. However, as the economist and consultant RMC Sport Pierre Rondeau explains, "the NBA is an industry, a multinational that seeks to develop economically, to capture new markets and as there is a French passion for the NBA, to it means consumption, public, craze, notoriety and positioning. Paris is all good for the NBA because it is virgin land with ground prepared upstream by Michael Jordan who produces some PSG jerseys ”. It is no coincidence that it is precisely the franchise led by MJ, the Charlotte Hornets, which inaugurates this new partnership.

🆕⚽️🏀 #PSGxJordan

@PSG_inside and @ Jumpman23 are launching a new jersey and a lifestyle collection that plays on the codes of football and basketball 🔥


- Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_inside) January 23, 2020

If he did not take part officially in the negotiations between the city and the American league, the new radiation power of Paris Saint-Germain and the close links which it maintains with Nike and the mark “Jordan” could have played in favor of Paname against London. As such, PSG opened the doors of the Parc des Princes to the Bucks on Thursday while Neymar, Mbappé and Verratti are expected in Bercy on Friday to attend the meeting. "Generally speaking, I find that there is a powerful connection between the NBA lifestyle and the Parisian lifestyle," said former Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn. It is also the city of fashion and many NBA basketball players were, for example, present at Fashion Week last June. "

For the man who made a name for himself in the United States after preferring the future Jonny Flynn flop to Stephen Curry during the 2009 draft, there is no doubt that "Paris and the NBA will remain linked for many years. It is not up to me but the NBA to confirm this, but it would be surprising if this were not the case. We cross our fingers so that he had more flair than eleven years ago. This should most certainly be the case if one believes Adam Silver, the great manitou of the NBA, who spoke to the press Thursday evening.

"We will come back," he promised straight away. We will replay next year in January. We do not yet know with which teams but we are chatting with several of them. We already have too many candidates! We will be in Paris for many years, even if for the moment the only commitment we have is for next year. "This story is slowly starting to smell good.


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