PARIS – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a meeting this week in Paris and a generous host asked him how he takes his coffee.
“Is Sucre?asked French President Emmanuel Macron.
Over that coffee, the NBA leader and France leader struck a deal to work together in hopes of continuing to develop the game of basketball internationally — a marriage of perfect timing, given how French superstar Victor Wimpanyama is a few months away from coming to the NBA and the Olympics. In Paris about 18 months away.
The NBA announced some details Thursday, including the collaboration between the league and the LNB, France’s top professional league. the events that France and the National Basketball Association will work on together as part of the preparation for Paris 2024; expanding youth programs; and additional work to grow the game in Africa, with both the league and France committing to more investments there including facilities capable of hosting African Basketball League matches.
“I think his belief is certainly very similar to the NBA about the power of sports to bring people together and what a constructive force it can be and even as a global driver for creating commonality and empathy between people,” Silver said.
Silver said Macron had been scheduling to match the BAL during a visit to Rwanda in the league’s inaugural qualifiers. Macron watched the match with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
“He is very familiar with all our global plans, especially in Africa,” Silver said.
Macron had other pressing matters on his schedule this week. At least 1.1 million people protested on the streets of Paris and other French cities on Thursday amid nationwide strikes against plans to raise the retirement age. On Thursday – he said he would go ahead with proposed pension reforms.
Basketball was most likely just a short distraction.
“I am happy and proud that the NBA has chosen to make France and Paris one of its iconic stadiums in the world,” Macron said. “It reflects the special and long-standing relationship that France has with the National Basketball Association. Thanks to our training, the performance of our national teams and the hosting of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we now have the opportunity to go further. And to participate in a beneficial and lasting partnership for the benefit of French basketball, as well as In support of our development policy in Africa.
Silver said the NBA is in the process of planning another game in Paris next year. Speaking Thursday before a game between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons, Wimpanyama and his family were sitting on the court.
Silver and Macron also discussed plans for Paris 2024, including how the current schedule calls for preliminary games in Lille – about 140 miles north of Paris. This decision is not final, and has been subject to some criticism due to basketball’s prestigious place on the Olympic programme.
“He assured us everything was going to be fine,” Silver said.
Other topics covered by Silver on Thursday included:
Although Silver and National Basketball Association executive director Tamika Tremaglio was in Paris this week, talks between the league and the association continued in New York.
“Our colleagues are back in New York, negotiating as we speak,” Silver said. “They’ve been meeting all week, just looking at issue after issue and trying to work through those issues that separate us. I would say, though, I think we’re starting from a very strong foundation.”
The NBA and its players have until February 8 if either side wants to withdraw from the current collective bargaining agreement. This deadline has already been pushed back once from mid-December, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it was pushed back again.
“There is a strong sense of partnership between the players and the league,” Silver said. “This does not mean that we do not have differences.”
Among the issues the NBA and NBPA have discussed in recent weeks has been a return to allowing players to enter the draft directly into high school without waiting a year — a move expected to be included in the next CBA — along with what the league considers a “spending cap” Which would significantly tighten the rules on how much teams can spend each year on their roster.
With LeBron James now perhaps just two weeks away from catching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and becoming the NBA’s scoring leader, Silver revealed some of the concepts the league is considering paying tribute to.
“There’s no doubt that we’re going to stop that game and make sure we’re scoring for history, the ball, the basket and the uniform,” Silver said. “We’re going to stop by and make sure we’ve done our job as the custodians of the NBA. And at the same time, there’s this balance that they’re going to be playing against a team that’s going to desperately want to win that night and not be distracted. We’ll probably do something right now, but then we’ll plan a celebration.” Larger “.
James is on track to break the record in early February — and if he does, Silver’s most talked-about biggest celebration will likely come at the NBA Weekend in Salt Lake City later that month.
Back to normal
The last time the NBA played in Paris before Thursday was in January 2020 — just under two months before the league closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I actually remember when we were here at the time, in January of 2020, we started seeing people wearing masks. People knew something was coming,” Silver said. “Nobody could have predicted at the time that the world would shut down and we would continue to play in a bubble, etc. Our hope, of course, is that we have this pandemic booked, and the worst is behind us. We hope it is.”