NBA games that took place in France

A week before the NBA Paris Game 2023 (January 19), rediscover the NBA matches played in France since the creation of the Great League.

Wanting to open up to the rest of the world, the NBA launched in 1978 the NBA Global Games, a series of preseason and regular season games, played away from American and Canadian soil. Asia, South America, Europe… The Great League has seen almost everything, including France, which has the right to seven matches – eight in the pro week.

Fighters and Hornets, the former

A moment of history: October 18, 1994 was the first match between two NBA teams on French soil. For the occasion, David Stern, the commission of the time decided to send the Golden State Warriors of Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway and the Charlotte Hornets of Alonzo Mourning, unfortunately injured that day, and Larry Johnson. The Bay franchise came off a 1993-94 season that ended with elimination in the 1st round of the Playoffs but the Hornets, themselves, did not even reach the postseason.

Therefore, two teams in full preparation reside in the capital. After the controlled beginning of the game, the Warriors quietly won, 132-116. Chris Mullin, the star of the season in Golden State who claimed his status by scoring 25 points including 14 in the second quarter, was well helped by 24 points from Latrell Sprewell and 21 from Tim Hardaway. The Hornets, without Mourning or Dell Curry (Steph’s dad) and with a not-100% Larry Johnson didn’t make the cut. Robert Parish, Darrin Hancock and Michael Adams led the Hornets with 16 points each. And in a sold-out sports hall in Bercy, we couldn’t help but notice the (very unbalanced) rivalry between Mugsy Bogues and Manute Bol. The leader of the Hornets, 1m60 facing the pivot of the Warriors, 2m31 was the other attraction of the match.

Grizzlies-Spurs, TP home

Seven years later, on October 8, 2003, the NBA returned to Paris, with a star guest: Tony Parker. Crowned with just one title – his first – the season before, the leader returns for the first time to France since his draft . The Grizzlies in full construction, just lived through a complicated season that finished in 12th place in the west.

In search of back to back, the Spurs with their Parker-Duncan-Ginobili trio, faced the Grizzlies of Jason Williams and a young Pau Gasol. In front of an audience of VIPs (Zinédine Zidane, Thierry Henry…), Popovich’s gang dominated their match against Memphis and won 105-93. Parker put on a show in front of his audience and finished as the top scorer with 19 points, Duncan with a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. On the other hand, Pau Gasol finished with 17 points, quite a symbol. This is the beginning of a great rivalry between Tipi and Pau, as well as a beautiful love story between the French and the Spurs.

D-Wade vs Vince Carter, sparks in the capital

On October 9, 2008, Bercy again welcomed the stars from the Great League. This time it’s Dwayne Wade’s Miami Heat and the frenchies Yakhouba Diawara facing Vince Carter’s New Jersey Nets. Miami, in search of a second title after 2006 wants to revive after a failed 2007-2008 season and elimination in the Playoffs. The Nets, who finished with a negative balance, went through a difficult season and saw Jason Kidd specifically request his transfer. But the poster, pitting Dwayne Wade and Vince Carter against each other for an exhibition. Lots of flash from the Flash, big saves from Vinsanity, who will come out injured before half-time, but the Paris public are enjoying themselves.

For once, this is a game with a lot of clumsiness but very balanced, which will offer a money time. And to everyone’s surprise, the Nets won by a 100-98 wire after the last possession was poorly managed by the Floridians. Devin Harris scored 21 points for the Nets, Wade also scored 21 for Miami.

Gotham arrives in Paris

October 6, 2010: New York comes to town. After the Nets two years before, it was the turn of the Knicks and their rookie Amare Stoudemire to go and play with Bercy. The Big Apple, with Ronny Turiaf in its ranks, will face Kevin Love’s Minnesota Timberwolves. Both franchises are rebuilding and didn’t make the Playoffs last year, are still in the process.

Close and tight match to the end between the two teams that went round (no player more than 25 minutes in the game), which was finally won by Minneapolis 106-100, thanks to a huge dominance in the rebound. Kevin Love finished with 17 points, Ronny Turiaf only had 2 points and 2 blocks.

January 24, 2020, first official match

We have to wait 10 years to see the Great League move to Paris. Adam Silver wanted a change and something new, it’s done: a regular season game will take place in Bercy. 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 Paname. The Bercy arena is packed as usual and for good reason: Nicolas Batum’s Charlotte Hornets will face Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks.

The meeting is expected. With Tony Parker and Michael Jordan Himself in the stands, the two teams were not too disappointed and the Bucks won with a score of 116-103. The Greek Freak did his usual job with a big double-double with 30 points and 16 rebounds. On the opposite side, the Hornets were led by the duo of Malik Monk (31 points) and Devonte Graham (19 points). The organization pleased the leaders of the league who promised to return: it will be done on January 19, with a match between the Bulls and the Pistons.

Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, Kings of Paris

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

Six years later, it’s the Chicago Bulls’ turn to go and play in Paris. The defending champions are notably facing PSG Racing. Without Pippen or Rodman, the Bulls were hooked but Michael Jordan treated the entire room with 29 points, and Chicago won 89-82.

TP against ASVEL, as a symbol

On October 5, 2006, the San Antonio Spurs returned to France as part of a tour for NBA Live Europe, a series of friendly games between NBA franchises and European teams. Ironically, Tony Parker’s Spurs faced… ASVEL, a club owned by TP a few years later.

For the occasion, the match conditions will mix European and American regulations. Quarters will be 12 minutes (compared to 10 in Europe), while the 3-point line will be slightly closer to the corners. Lyonnais would logically lose 115 to 90 against those who, a few months later, would lift the NBA title. The Spurs pulled away after quarter time, thanks to the tremendous Tony Parker (26 points and 10 assists). TP who succeeded in Lyon, has finally been written.

Incidentally, France and the NBA have a great common history, and they will have a chance to celebrate this Thursday, January 19.

Source: Basketball Reference, AP News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *