Roland Garros

Behind the scenes of the game at Roland-Garros: “Paris Basketball has a culture of events”


How far was this cathedral silence so precious to tennis when the Parisians decided to go to the net. Roland-Garros center fired at a time of money, super tie-break style, fiercely controversial. Songs, American music in the background and the public standing at the Paris encounter, Philippe-Chatrier’s court began to vibrate and Monaco believed it before taking Paris from behind in the final seconds. Faithful to the aphorism dear to the owner and looking after the land – “Victory belongs to the most stubborn” -, Monegasques flew to Roland-Garros in the lair of the former aviator of the First World War. That sentence seems as appropriate to the Monegasques as it is to the French Open’s greatest champions. “I wasn’t able to enjoy the atmosphere because I was at my game, but playing in such a legendary place is a great promotion for French basketball”, He started Sasa Obradovic after Monegasque’s 95-91 win.

Filled by 10,424 curious people (15 out of 15) 000 places available), Roland-Garros’ center court tried the orange ball and dusted off some old memories of the finals of the old French championships held there outdoors and on dirt. 1934 and In 1939, then in 1945, 1947 and 1948. Second major influx in LNB history behind Nanterre – ASVEL and 15th at U Arena. 200 people, 11 March 2018.

Roland-Garros, an unusual setting for a basketball game (photo: Lilian Bordron).

“We invite ourselves to the unexpected place”

“This is a very important step in our development” Welcomes Mathias Priez Deputy general manager of the captains club. The Philippe-Chatrier court is no bigger than the Accor Arena (the match against ASM was moved to Bercy last year). We invite ourselves to unexpected places, and I like it. Paris Basketball has a culture of events and we want to continue that. It’s not a fad because it works! »

People, both young and family “in search of experience and innovation”Yoan Makoundou had full sight of the fighter jet or arsonist Mike James. Arriving in Rafael Nadal’s country, one is immediately struck by the legendary and legendary character of the place. Statues of the Spaniard, Jacques Brugnon and Jean Borata in the square are a reminder that Roland-Garros is part of the pantheon of French sport.

Paris Basketball is in this stylish venue of a unique prestige where it hopes to win its first victory in the championship (0-5) against one of the EuroLeague Final Four contenders (7 wins in the championship and C1). Often a resident of the outdated Halle Georges-Carpentier (4,800 seats) in the 13th arrondissement, Parisians have reaffirmed their desire to be the stronghold of French basketball.

The culture of this very young club, founded four years ago, is in the middle of the atmosphere. Street North America was invited for an evening at the International, famous for its elitist side, at the Internationaux de France. The center of Roland-Garros was covered with huge greenery. The more adventurous arrived as soon as it opened at 11am. h. Lying on the lounge chairs with the Roland-Garros logo, they took advantage of a few rays of sunshine amidst the grayness of Paris. As you walk through the square, you might stumble upon influencers, Youtubers, and even Eddie Viator – former international referee and French whistleblower – in the perfect suit and sunglasses on his nose.

Shockball invaded the stage, in front of Suzanne Lenglen. A very young discipline designed from the ground up by Ice The Flow, a three-time French Freestyle Basket champion and a regular with Tony Parker. “Rules are like basketball”he explains, as the youngest try their hand at discipline. “It is a hexagonal area where you have to score points in vertical baskets called rings. A little further on, the Arcade association supports esports and its extension in NBA 2K. “Like basketball, you should never jump on the first move”advises one of the association’s ambassadors to one of its junior practitioners.

Reach a new audience

Paris - Monaco on October 16 at Roland-Garros
Before the game, young and old could play basketball or NBA 2K (photo: Lilian Bordron).

Huge queues form around the food trucks at noon. In the middle of the crowd we find Jules, an ardent supporter of Cholet, ripped from the Vendée and fascinated by the atmosphere of Paris Basketball. : “What Paris does is powerful and loud. Such events bring people together and make them want to follow the team. » Big fan of Axel Toupane and seduced by Juhann Begarin because “There is flow”, especially likes this kind of exhibition matches. The goal that Mathias Priez and his team are looking for is to reach a new audience. : “An audience that will come once or twice a year, not to watch 30 games a season tomorrow. If thousands of people come to each match, the arena (located at the Porte de la Chapelle, which Paris will capture in 2023) will be quite full. »

Paris - Monaco on October 16 at Roland-Garros
The room fills up (photo: Lilian Bordron).

One hour before the start, the stands slowly fill up. Stephen Curry and Kylian Mbappé jerseys were invited to the party. ” Oh my God “, He infuriates a British tourist when he arrives, with his hat on, exploring the setting in the basketball configuration from the locker rooms. The stands are close to the field. Glossy parquet sparkles, players warm up and take the pulse of the event. “The team doesn’t necessarily have to be big tennis fans. “, says Juhann Begarin, well suited for his return to competition, “But the Americans quickly realized the significance of this event. »

A head-to-head event despite spending more than 200,000 Euros

Because the roof is not airtight, the gaps allow ambient air to pass through. It refreshes you and caresses your cheekbones. The sun’s rays also warm your back a few minutes after the first challenge. Speaker duo Rama and Dancy revive the pre-match with a short survey of Roland-Garros’ history, inviting the public to take pictures of it to walk through the room’s giant screens. The warming is intensifying, so is the music. Behind the scenes, officials and organizers are worried. The carefully placed decals on the parquet had slipped and disturbed the Monegasque clan. A small hiccup that the general public did not hear was quickly resolved. The basketball party in Roland-Garros remains calm. “No one sees, I’m a great perfectionist”smiles Mathias Pray.

Paris v Monaco at Roland Garros
Paris Basketball invested in making this event a success (photo: Lilian Bordron).

Organizing such an event is a task that must be carried out smoothly. Ten months of preparation, more than €200,000 in budget, 160 volunteers and twenty hours of work to turn a tennis court into a basketball court. Paris Basketball teams took over the building on Thursday morning to lay the hardwood, place the baskets and all the electronics. A meticulous organization for a successful first. “Financial figures are positive”smiled, warmly, Mathias Pray. “If we are not beneficiaries, the balance is almost achieved. »

“Is this the best evening in french basketball? dares David Kahn

Long minutes before kick-off, top-secret owner Éric Schwartz, seen at David Kahn and Chatrier with the ball below the elbow of the game, managed to give Paris Basketball a strong identity. A North American DNA, of course. Dance groups with street culture left their mark on the night. Away from the cheerleaders or marching bands that often fill Betclic ÉLITE’s rooms. Paris Basketball, which is mocking and sometimes arrogant on social networks, increases this difference in the stands. The Ile-de-France bridge Parisiis, which was officially launched last year, features Monegasque avant-garde Yoan Makoundou and Matthew Strazel “ high priced “During the match. A good-natured atmosphere that ASM’s strong winger confirmed by nodding and releasing a few smiles towards a handful of ultra Parisians. “We bring that youthful touch that is missing in traditional French basketball”note Sometimes it is remade with a megaphone, usually a drum. and to add : “We try to shout as loud as possible for the team. We are ambidextrous. Who cares if the audience is asleep. »

The rest of the room was rather shy and restrained. Parisiis managed to do a few rounds of hola, nothing more. Founded in 2018, Paris Basketball is still seeking its fan base and reaffirming its desire to conquer greater Paris with events like this. But without sporting results that meet expectations, a club is not much. Having survived relegation in the elite league for the first time last year and was invited to the EuroCup this season, Paris breathes new life into French basketball and tends to compete in the EuroLeague in the short term. “Is this the best evening in French basketball? », asks David Kahn as he leaves the VIP lounge. Everyone will have their own answer. But this simple question says a lot about the passions of Paris Basketball.

Finally, the final demonstrations left Roland-Garros at 7:20pm and passed the PSG bus, escorted by the police, on its way to the Parc des Princes for the OM vs. Classic. A simple coincidence or a sign of fate for a club aiming to become the second club in the capital after PSG ? The future will tell.

at Roland Garros,

Paris wants to export to other parts of the Île-de-France: “We have other ideas”

David Kahn Paris 2022-23
Eric Schwartz and David Kahn, both in the middle, are owners of Paris Basketball (photo: Lilian Bordron).

Bercy last year. Roland-Garros this year. Every season, his extraordinary goal with Paris Basketball. Playing on the Philippe-Chatrier field is like imagining Cholet Play in Puy-du-Fou or Europa-Park in Strasbourg. Completely impossible but capital club did. Prior to Rafael Nadal’s home game against AS Monaco, David Kahn reiterated his desire to return to Bercy this season and to Roland-Garros next year. “It’s important to dream bigger »Summing up his Parisian boss, “our other opinions Nothing has yet been defined outside of Paris” but still in the Ile-de-France.

So what will happen? Rédoine dreams of: “MIt would be in the Parc des Princes or the Stade de France, if we imagined it. Maybe in the years to come and again… Utopian. Right now we can’t attract enough people to make events better than this » . The Parisian supporter isn’t ruling out the PSG Basket idea either. “PSG – Real, that would be legendary”he finishes with a grin.

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October 17, 2022 at 1:30 am



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