Tonight the Bulls and the Pistons will square off in Paris at the Accor Arena for this year’s NBA Paris Game. DeMar DeRozan, who is visiting the capital of France for the first time, talked about his experience ahead of the game.
Q: How does it feel playing in Paris?
DD: It feels great. It’s an honour – it’s a blessing to be able to represent this game in Paris, I’m excited. Looking forward to the game tomorrow being out there playing. Extremely eager.
Q: Do you know Paris already or not?
DD: I’ve never been so this is my first time. To be here, be doing what I love to do, playing basketball, I’m definitely looking forward to it
Q: DeMar how can chemistry help the team?
DD: It’s big, we’ve travelled a long way to get here and experienced something new amongst all the guys. Can’t do nothing but bring us closer, give us another spark, going into the second half of the season, so it’ll be something that’s extremely, extremely beneficial for us.
Q: What would you like to improve and maintain?
DD: Just being consistent. We show we can compete and play against anybody so just being consistent is the main part for us.
Q: What are you expecting for tomorrow night?
DD: Man, I’m looking forward to it. I know Killian Hayes is from here so I know a lot of people are going to be excited to see him and seeing NBA basketball up close in person. I’m excited to see all the fans, be in an atmosphere and see what it’s like.
It means a lot to be here to represent the Chicago Bulls organization, and Paris, and the NBA. It’s an honour. I’m excited, my whole team, everybody excited to be here. We can’t wait to get out there tomorrow and play in front of all the fans.
Q: Is it important for the NBA to go in Europe?
DD: For sure, for sure. It just shows you how global the game of basketball is. Everybody across the world loves the game of basketball. And for fans to see us up close, can’t do nothing but make it that much bigger. You see the kids up there, you see how excited they are. You know, that’s what it’s all about. That’s what we do it for.
Q: Why France, not Italy or Spain or another country?
DD: I would’ve loved to go anywhere. I’m glad we here in Paris, just to be able to travel outside the States to play is amazing and I’m glad we got to play in Paris.
Q: There are some great European players and it used to be all about the Americans. What is it about the Europeans that works in the NBA?
DD: If you start from back in the day, there are so many European players that came out, that set the tone for the greatness for it to be carried over, Ginoblili, one of my favourite players growing up, Dirk, so many players that have a skill set that sets them apart, and you just see the culture of that growing even more and more. It’s great to see we can name so many, so many European players to this day, that it’s just taking a leap to another level.
Q: Are you surprised to see the fans here in Paris?
DD: No I’m not surprised. I’m more excited, it’s fun. Even walking the streets yesterday, fans coming up to you being excited saying that they’re gonna be at the game. It’s a humbling experience because it shows you how, how big the game of basketball is for us to be over here playing representing the NBA is awesome. The game is gonna be fun tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to it.
Q: Do you think it’s a good thing for NBA to play abroad?
DD: It’s a great, it’s a great thing. I’ve had the privilege to play in London twice. Now to be in Paris, playing basketball. The experience is one of a kind. I’m glad that the NBA do it. I hope we continue to do it and continue to do it even bigger.
Q: What do you think of [Victor] Wembanyama?
DD: He is going to be in the NBA. He’s going to be amazing. Just what I’ve seen thus far this past couple of months from him. That’s a guy that can come in and lead and definitely change the game again.
The NBA Paris Game 2023 Presented by Nike will air live on beIN SPORTS, free-to-air Canal+ and NBA League Pass at 9 p.m. CET, reaching fans in more than 200 countries and territories on television, digital media and social media. The game will also be shown on BBC Three 8pm GMT.