As the NBA season begins again this week, Nike celebrates basketball culture in Europe by welcoming basketball legend Kobe Bryant to Paris.
Briant, who arrived on Thursday in the French Capital, took the opportunity to visit the Paris Saint-Germain players after their Champions League victory against Anderlecht and a few days before the much anticipated Ligue 1 classico.
A big football fan, the five-time NBA champion was greeted by Sporting Director Antero Henrique and former Paris Saint-Germain player and Assistant Sporting Director Maxwell and invited to join the players at the Ooredoo training center.
Bryant spoke with the Parisians about his legendary “Mamba Mentality” and as a football enthusiast, took the opportunity to juggle with the Paris Saint-Germain players and watch the entire training session alongside Antero Henrique and Maxwell.
Kobe Bryant declared: “ It’s not my first time in Paris, I’ve been in the city many times. But I used to play around this time of the year, so I’m very fortunate to be able to come now, here at the practise facility.” He added “I don’t miss playing, but I do enjoy coming and watching how some of the best players in the world prepare and how the best organizations in the world prepare. I spent a great amount of time asking questions and try to understand what they do. I’ve been extremely blown away by what I saw today”.
The meeting between basketball and football stars highlights the growing influence of basketball beyond the parquet in Europe, and that of football in the United States.
Bryant is staying in Paris for several days and will tomorrow take part in the launch of the Quartier in the 19th arrondissement, an area entirely dedicated to the game of basketball and its culture. From Saturday 21 October, this gymnasium will be transformed into a basketball arena for fans of the game in Paris.
Paris Saint-Germain continues to maintain close ties with American basketball. Kobe Bryant’s visit follows that of three other NBA stars this season – Karl-Anthony Towns who visited Parc des Princes in June, Stephen Curry who kicked off the match against Saint-Etienne and Gary Payton who attended the game against Olympique Lyonnais.ant