NBA games held in France

A week before the NBA Paris Game 2023 (January 19), rediscover NBA games played in France since the inception of the Major League.

NBA, which wants to open on an international scale, started its activities in 1978 NBA Global Games, A number of preseason and regular season games played away from American and Canadian soil. Asia, South America, Europe… Major League Soccer has seen just about everything, including France qualifying for seven matches – eight during the pro week.

Fighters and Hornets, precursors

A moment in history: October 18, 1994 is the first game between two NBA teams in France. On this occasion, David Stern, the start Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway of the Golden State Warriors of the time and Alonzo Mourning of the Charlotte Hornets decide to send Larry Johnson, who was unfortunately injured that day. The Bay Area franchise ended the 1993-94 season with a loss in the 1st round of the playoffs, but the Hornets didn’t even make it. the postseason.

Therefore, two fully prepared teams settled in the capital. After a controlled start, the Warriors quietly won 132-116. Golden State all-star Chris Mullin scored 25 points, including 14 in the second quarter, with 24 from Latrell Sprewell and 21 from Tim Hardaway. The Hornets didn’t cross without Mourning or Dell Curry (Steph’s father) and Larry Johnson not 100%. Robert Parish, Darrin Hancock and Michael Adams led the Hornets with 16 points each. We also missed the (very unbalanced) duel between Mugsy Bogues and Manute Bol in a sold-out gym in Bercy. Hornets’ leader, 1m60, 2m31 against the Warriors’ pivot were other highlights of the match.

Grizzlies-Spurs, TP returns home

Seven years later, on October 8, 2003, the NBA returned to Paris with a star guest: Tony Parker. Crowned with a new title – his first – a season ago, the leader returned to France for the first time since draft . The under-construction Grizzlies had a difficult season, finishing 12th in the West.

In search back to back, the Spurs faced the Grizzlies of Jason Williams and a young Pau Gasol with the trio of Parker-Duncan-Ginobili. In front of the VIP audience (Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry…), Popovich’s squad dominated the match against Memphis and won 105-93. Parker put on a show in front of the crowd and was the top scorer with 19 points, while Duncan finished with a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Conversely, Pau Gasol finished with 17 points. This is the beginning of a great rivalry between Tipi and Pau, as well as a beautiful love story between the French and Spurs.

D-Wade vs Vince Carter, sparks in the capital

On October 9, 2008, Bercy once again welcomed the stars of the Major League. This time Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat french Yakhouba Diawara against Vince Carter’s New Jersey Nets. Miami is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2007-2008 season and make a playoff appearance as it seeks its second title since 2006. Finishing with a negative balance sheet, the Nets are going through a difficult period and have seen Jason Kidd make a special request for his transfer. But a poster pitting Dwayne Wade and Vince Carter against each other for an exhibition. Multiple flashes from the Flash, big tomes from Vinsanity who will come out injured before the break, but the Paris crowd are having fun.

For once, it’s a very clumsy but very balanced game that will even make a suggestion money time. And to everyone’s surprise, it was the Nets who came away with a 100-98 victory after a last possession that was mishandled by the Floridians. Devin Harris scored 21 points for the Nets and Wade scored 21 points for Miami.

Gotham comes to Paris

October 6, 2010: New York comes to town. After the Nets two years ago, it is the turn of the Knicks and their rookie Amare Stoudemire to come and play in Bercy. The Big Apple, featuring Ronny Turiaf, faces Kevin Love’s Minnesota Timberwolves. Both franchises are rebuilding and are still in the process of getting started, having not made the playoffs the previous year.

In what was a close and tight game between the two returning teams (no players more than 25 minutes into the game), Minneapolis eventually won 106-100, thanks to a huge rebounding advantage. Kevin Love finished with 17 points, while Ronnie Turiaf had just 2 points and 2 blocks.

January 24, 2020, the first official game

We will have to wait 10 years to see the Major League move to Paris. Adam Silver wanted change and innovation, and now it’s ready: Bercy will host a regular season game. As tradition dictates, every year the NBA plays a regular season game in Europe. Usually held in London (between 2011 and 2019), the body decided to bring together all the cream of the orange ball in Panama. The Bercy arena is packed as usual and for good reason: Nicolas Batum’s Charlotte Hornets take on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks.

The meeting was expected. With Tony Parker and Michael Jordan himself the two teams in the stands were not too disappointed and the Bucks won 116-103. Greak Freak did his usual thing with a big double-double of 30 points and 16 rebounds. On the other side, the duo of Malik Monk (31 points) and Devonte Graham (19 points) carried the Hornets. The organization pleased the league leaders who promised to return: it will take place on January 19 with the match between the Bulls and the Pistons.

Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, Kings of Paris

The oldest among you will surely remember the McDonald’s Open, a friendly competition that pitted the best teams in Europe against the NBA. France has hosted the tournament twice: in 1991 and 1997. In 1991, Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers team came to the capital. Angelinos planned to face Badalone and CSP Limoges. Yes, yes, you are not dreaming, there was a Lakers-Limoges match and it ended with a big victory (132-101) of the Hollywood franchise with 21 assists for the star leader.

Six years later, it’s the Chicago Bulls’ turn to come and play a match in Paris. The last champions faced PSG Racing in particular. Without Pippen or Rodman, the Bulls are hooked, but Michael Jordan fills the room with 29 points and Chicago wins 89-82.

TP vs. ASVEL, as symbol

On October 5, 2006, the San Antonio Spurs returned to France as part of the NBA Live Europe tour, a series of friendly games between NBA franchises and European teams. Ironically, Tony Parker’s Spurs face ASVEL, a club that TP would own years later.

On this occasion, the match conditions will mix European and American rules. Quarters will be 12 minutes (compared to 10 in Europe), and the 3-point line will be a little closer in the corners. A few months later, the Lyonnais would logically lose 115-90 against the NBA champions. Spurs lead after quarter time thanks to the huge Tony Parker (26 points and 10 assists). TP, successful in Lyon, was finally written.

Coincidentally, France and the NBA have a great history in common, and they will have the opportunity to celebrate this Thursday, January 19th.

Source: Basketball Reference, AP News

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