They are not the usual rock stars of the place. Just basketball players who come to play a game like they play almost a hundred in their season on the other side of the Atlantic. For them, it’s routine. Once on the parquet floor, they are like at home in a room transformed into an American stronghold.

For all those, however, who have had the chance to see them play a few meters away, this is a moment of history. No, we should not miss the first official NBA game on French territory, won by Milwaukee on the Charlotte Hornets (116-103). The 180,000 or so fans who failed to get tickets must still regret it.

After the tribute to Tony Parker, neo-retired without whom France would not like the NBA as much, then that to David Stern the former boss of the league who died on January 1 without whom this match outside the United States would not have never existed, make way for the show.

A clamor for Nicolas Batum

Everything is as detailed as the Americans know how to do it. Maybe sometimes too much, almost scripted. But the chills are inevitable when the “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the anthem of the United States, is sung a cappella. Welcome to America, on the banks of the Seine.

There is also a game to play: a real one that will count in the final NBA standings. Everyone came for this. When the number 34 of the best player in the world, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is yelled into the microphone, the fans roar. When he slams his first dunk after a few minutes, it turns crazy.

This is nothing compared to the clamor that accompanies the only Frenchie of the evening: Nicolas Batum. Holder, the Norman and captain of the France team is greeted by a gigantic ovation. There were stars everywhere in the room, even Spike Lee, the next president of the Cannes Film Festival, an unconditional fan of the NBA. A shower of stars for a magical night.


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