Three hours before in between, there was commotion in the bays of the Accor Arena to determine where this or that personality would sit. However, it is impossible to know from the members of the security or the communication which stars would go to the edge of the parquet floor, to participate in the meeting between Taurus and Stamps.
So we had to wait, or sometimes use ingenuity and use our knowledge, to discover the first names. And an hour and a half before the start of the match, the first celebrities appeared together with some fans.
” Look, there’s Yannick Noah’s son! “, could be heard shouting, at the moment when Joakim Noah is penetrated into courtyard with his wife, Brazilian model Lais Ribeiro. In passing, he welcomes Keith Bogans, his former teammate in Chicago, as well as Rashard Lewis, now on Detroit’s coaching staff.
But the extravagant “Jooks”, whose arrival seemed obvious given his past with the Bulls and his various appearances in the capital this week, was of course not the only personality in the game for this “NBA Paris Games 2023”.
On the “red carpet” of the evening, a kind of impromptu parade was effectively organized in front of the NBA photographers, as if we were in Cannes on a festival night.
Staying in French basketball, Tony Parker, Ronny Turiaf, Michael Pieters or Kevin Seraphin followed each other among men, while Marine Johannes and Gabby Williams represented women. The ability to mark the reunion between these teammates and teammates yesterday or today.
But the “other” attraction of the evening was obviously the presence of Victor Wembanyamacame with the family and cheered when he arrived in the room, then when he appeared on the giant screen in the Accor Arena.
“Wemby”, who some already envision returning to France in a year, for the next “NBA Paris Game”, has also taken the opportunity to meet a legend (and what a legend): Magic Johnson himself ! The surprise guest of the night, he competed with the (likely) future number one pick of the 2023 Draft in the applause when he was honored in the middle of the floor during the game, over thirty years after playing it.
Afterwards, the former manager left show time also allowed to tweet that he had the chance to meet and chat with the best player in the world “, speaking of Victor Wembanyama. Just that !
But like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 2020, Magic Johnson wasn’t the only basketball player eligible for a tribute ceremony because Ben Wallace and Richard “Rip” Hamilton, Pistons legend, received this honor at the same time as him. Same for Frenchmen Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, Ronny Turiaf, Mickaël Piétrus and Kevin Séraphin.
Former Bulls center Bill Wennington had also made the trip to the capital while on the WNBA side, Kahleah Copper (Chicago Sky), Napheesa necklace (Minnesota Lynx) and James Wade (Chicago Sky coach) was well positioned in the stands.
French sport in the spotlight
It is clear that the universe of the orange ball was as represented as the sport in general, and more specifically the French sport (even Monegasque). of the fighter Cyril Gane to the football player Aurelien Tchouameni (subsequently embroiled in a controversy…), via judoka Teddy Rinerthe pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie or the ten-athlete Kevin Mayerso many of them were tempted by a visit to the AccorArena.
Not to mention the pilots Pierre Gasly, Charles Leclerc and Esteban Oconas we had already seen in the afternoon in the NBA House of the Invalides, the time of a confrontation with Tony Parker and Joakim Noah for the duo Gasly / Leclerc.
Still in the world of sports, note the presence of football players Gerard Pique and Marco Veratti., the Italian was also the only PSG player to take part in this “NBA Paris match”, a trip to Saudi Arabia requires. Unlike 2020, when the Parisian team came in large numbers (Kylian Mbappé, Neymar, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, etc.) to watch the Bucks and Hornets.
A fashion week encore
On the showbiz side now, impossible to miss the rapper Lil Babyhooded and all dressed in green, as well as the artist Pharrell Williams, sitting with Magic Johnson. Other American rappers, e.g Tygaor French, which Petrol, keep a low profile, SDM Where Frenchalso did not fail to drive the public crazy, who only asked to have their photo taken with them (or even the famous mascot, “Benny the Bull”).
As for Zola, another French rapper, coincidentally injured and… on crutches, he was the one responsible for delivering the show at halftime of the match. Without, however, succeeding in lighting up the approximately 15,885 spectators in the hall. ” They would have done better to bring back the Harlem Globetrotters “Regrettably a father, situated not far from the press table.
Still on the list of showbiz personalities, the French YouTuber Mister V was also in high demand, as was the Italian TikTokeur Khaby Blade. But both of them could not quite compete with the singer’s popularity Aya Nakamurasitting in courtyard.
A very beautiful and impressive array of celebrities to which we could add comedians Fary Where Thomas Ngijol, and which could obviously be brought together thanks to the launch, this week, of Fashion Week in the capital. It is no coincidence that models Karlie Kloss and Thylane Blondeau was also part of the NBA’s guest list, definitely unparalleled when it comes to gathering so many stars in one place and making it a special event.
Images: NBA/Getty; Thomas Savoja / Basketball USA