The NBA are really taking advantage of their time in Paris, not just producing official games for the European fan base, but also building long-term alliances with the continent’s politicians and basketball organizations to improve the sport in France and Africa.
Before the Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 126-108 in the Accor Arena this past Thursday night, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver met with the French President to discuss a variety of initiatives that will elevate basketball in France and Africa.
“I am delighted and proud of the NBA’s choice to make France and Paris one of its privileged playgrounds in the world,” said President Macron. “We now have the opportunity to go further and engage in a useful and lasting partnership for the benefit of French basketball, as well as in support of our development policy in Africa.”
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Both sides of this new treaty are establishing a group of senior level executives that will coordinate to develop these future plans with the French Basketball Federation (FFBB) towards the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic games in Paris, where basketball will be featured.
As taken from the NBA Official Websitethe French Government and the United States basketball organization plan to work together on the following initiatives:
- The NBA and the LNB, France’s top professional basketball league that currently features French star and top 2023 NBA Draft prospect Victor Wembanyama, will share best practices across team and league business and basketball operations that will help grow the LNB and its teams and deepen their engagement with French fans. The NBA and the LNB will also explore exhibition games and ancillary events featuring NBA, LNB and Basketball Africa League (BAL) teams and players.
- In the lead up to the 2024 Summer Olympics, France and the NBA will conduct grassroots basketball development programming, interactive fan events and player appearances that will bring the NBA experience directly to fans in Paris.
- The NBA and the FFBB will expand their existing basketball development programming that has reached more than a quarter of a million French youth over the past decade, including through the Jr. NBA Challenge Benjamin(e)s program.
- France and the NBA plan to further invest in basketball infrastructure in Africa, including multipurpose facilities that can host BAL and NBA games and that will drive economic growth in communities across the continent.
“We’re honored to work with President Macron, the French Basketball Federation and the LNB to build on the tremendous momentum around basketball and the NBA in France,” said Silver. “President Macron strongly believes in the power of basketball to inspire and connect people everywhere, and we see enormous potential to grow the game and drive economic opportunity around sport in France and Africa.”
This week Basketball Insiders delivered a special report on the growth of the NBA’s relationship with Europe prior to the Bulls vs. Pistons clash. The association with the continent began around 2010, as the O2 Arena in London was about to host the best players in the world for the 2012’s Olympic Games, the league organized the first two official NBA games as a preview to the great contest, in this case between the Nets and the Raptors.
Also, just yesterday the BBC announced that they will broadcast live at least nine official NBA matches this season. The national broadcaster of the United Kingdom shared that besides yesterday’s Bulls vs Pistons game, the contract includes four other regular-season games, two NBA Playoffs matches, one Conference Finals game, and one NBA Finals game. There will also be selected highlights and an end-of-season review show.
The United States have their eyes on Africa, just like the French union has proven to be strong bond as France has already become the country (outside of North America) with most national players playing in the NBA (nine in total).
The NBA and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) understand Africa’s potential, as France’s inclusive public bank is committed to financing projects that will improve the lives of people in developing and emerging economies. They believe in a collaboration to promote social inclusion in Africa by expanding basketball infrastructure and youth programs.
— AfroSport (@AfroSportTV) January 20, 2023