• Beaten by Serbia for their last group match, Les Bleues will face China in the quarter-finals of the Basketball World Cup on Thursday morning.

  • Since the start of the competition, Les Bleues have been carried by Gabby Williams, this Franco-American who arrived just over a year and a half ago.

  • Disciple of Kobe Bryant, the new ASVEL player wants to instill her hatred of defeat in a France group deprived of its executives during this World Cup.

Head lowered, glare, Gabby Williams knows that the Bleues du basket have just shot themselves in the foot with this defeat against Serbia for the last group match of these world championships, Tuesday, synonymous with quarter-finals against mighty China on Thursday.

Three days earlier, already, we had seen him burst a gourd on the ground with rage after the setback of the France team against Canada, after a first convincing success from the start against the Australians.

Arrived on tiptoe barely a little over a year ago in the French team to compensate for the absence due to injury at the Euro of the leader Bria Hartley, who until then occupied the only naturalized spot authorized in selection, Gabby Williams quickly took his ease in his selection of adoption.

Born in the United States of an American father and a French mother, the new winger of Asvel indeed has dual nationality.

So when former coach Valérie Garnier called her to join the France group, she didn't hesitate for a moment, she who never hid that she had never felt "full-fledged American".

Her attraction to the country of Molière, blanquette and Beaujolais Nouveau is not feigned, like this tattoo made when she was 14, supposed to symbolize the attachment she has to the country of her family on the side maternal (his grandmother lives in Paris): “Nothing can break our bond”.

Today, it continues to grow stronger.

"She feels totally French and she would have done everything to one day wear the blue jersey", says former international Edwige Lawson-Wade who brought her to Montpellier in 2019, after two European experiences in Naples and Girona, in Spain.

“I need it!


Bronze medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, Gabby Williams was quickly unanimous around her, to the point of being today a major element of the team led by Jean-Aimé Toupane.

“She's our best player since the start of the competition, validates Lawson-Wade.

We see her take things in hand, it shows that she has evolved enormously, that she accepts her role as leader.

She feels that it is up to her to assert herself because of the absence of the executives of the France team.

“In the comments of the Blue matches on beIN Sports, the former tricolor Audrey Sauret praises his “permanent rise in power since his arrival in the selection”.

“She exudes something very healthy, very serene.

He may not be a vocal leader but a leader by example, by his attitude, his way of fighting and not giving up.


This is what immediately appealed to Thibaut Petit, the former coach of the BLMA women's team (Basket Lattes Montpellier).

During a match for his team against Girona, he fell madly: “I saw this energy, this desire to win, this killer side, it immediately caught my eye.

I remember an action, I was on my bench and Gabby takes a technique after throwing the ball on the ground in rage.

There I say to myself ''this girl is fantastic, I need her!''”, he laughs.

At that time, Williams belonged to Chicago Sky, whose coach was none other than the husband of Edwige Lawson-Wade, the sports director of Montpellier.

The deal is done quickly, to Petit's delight,

“I was able to see her in her environment, in a WNBA context, in matches, in training, which allowed me to understand who I was dealing with and I was definitely convinced that she was the player I wanted. we needed.

We went to see a Chicago football game – she loves all sports, she's a real fan – and she was really behind the team, it was crazy.

With her, it's win, win, win.


Born at the University of UConn (Connecticut), a benchmark for women's university basketball in the United States, the one who was predestined to do the high jump before a knee injury finally pushed her under the racket is well decided to bring her rage to win in the France team.

"I spoke to the girls about the mentality that you are instilled there, she detailed last summer in



Losing is the end of the world.

We eat, we sleep basketball and victories.

Above all, we have no right to lose.

Each defeat causes a crisis, everyone comes together and we analyze so that it does not happen again.

I try to bring this way of doing things to the France team.

It's my state of mind on the pitch, when I leave it I never have any regrets because I know I gave it my all.


The “Mamba Mentality”

“She is very demanding on herself, and therefore on others and on the results of her team, she is a perfectionist.

That's why she's a complete player because everything she does, whether in attack or defense, she wants to do it, ”says the former sports director of BLMA.

Not just in basketball either.

Thibaut Petit: “When she arrived with us she barely spoke French but she learned it at breakneck speed, it was quite magical!

It's like what she does on the field in fact.

When she wants something, she gives herself the means and she gets there.

She dreamed of the Euroleague, she was in the Euroleague, she won the Euroleague (with her current club of Sopron, Hungary), she was voted best defender in the competition.

And all of this through work.

I've coached girls more talented than her, but also hardworking, never.


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Close to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who both tragically died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, Williams has something to hold on to.

“Having Kobe as a mentor is never trivial, assures Lawson-Wade.

With him there was no limit in the work, in the hours you can spend on the floor training and that undoubtedly helped him to forge a mentality.

“” She never boasted of this relationship, however, notes the former Montpellier coach.

It was during the season, by getting to know each other and talking, that we knew that Kobe had taken her under his wing.

She had a very strong bond with him and it was unfortunately that year, while she was with us, that he passed away.

We were playing in Lyon the day it happened, she was devastated.

But she is in her image, there is no doubt about that.



Women's Basketball World Cup: Les Bleues qualified for the quarterfinals after a big performance against Japan


Women's Basketball World Cup: Les Bleues make a success of their entry by surprising the Australian host

  • Sport

  • Basketball

  • Women's Basketball World Cup

  • France basketball team

  • Kobe Bryant