Bismack Biyombo of the Charlotte Hornets answered media questions ahead of the NBA Paris Game 2020 against the Milwaukee Bucks which will take place on Friday.
After a great start of the season, you just lost 6 games consecutively. Do you think that the game against Milwaukee in Paris could get you back in the race for the play-offs in case of a victory?
BB: “It’s true that we’ve just lost some games, but before our game in Paris we have the one against the Orlando Magic. As of right now we are focusing on the game on Monday and then we’ll start focusing on the Milwaukee game. Overall, I think the game in Paris is a great opportunity considering it’s the first NBA game in Paris, and so it allows us to be closer to our fanbase in Europe.”
The fans in Paris have great expectation for the Paris Game. More than 140.000 people were pre-registered trying to get a ticket. How do you feel a few days ahead of the game?
BB: “I feel great because I do believe that this game is a great opportunity for the global expansion of the NBA. It’s also a great opportunity for the players to perform in Paris. We’re going to have a great time and offer an awesome show for all our European fan. I keep getting messages from our European fans, in France and elsewhere.”
Regarding the BAL, which is starting in March, what does it mean to you and are you going to be involved in this league?
BB: “One way or another, I’ll be involved. The most important is to have the chance to see the beginning of the league. It really makes me happy. We still have the chance to play overseas whether in China or Europe before evolving in the NBA. Now the young African player will have the chance to be part of those teams but also to have the NBA come and watch them in Africa. It also helps on a business side as it allows African countries to work hand in hand: this makes me particularly happy as it is quite difficult for African countries to work together. We hope that this league will not only help the basket business but also the economy.”
Following about African basketball: what do you think of rising African stars in the NBA such as Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam in the All-Star Game and also Serge Ibaka being champion even though he is Spanish. Do you think that it will strengthen the development of basketball in Africa?
BB: “I think it will help. In the NBA right now, we have more and more players from outside of the US and that is important. Truth is, we are seeing NBA stars from Africa and they represent Africa at a high level, and I think that if these players weren’t present, the NBA would not have invested to have a league and an academy in Africa. They saw a potential and really understood that there were great talents to develop in Africa with great coaches, training and preparation. I do believe that in the near future there will be more African talents in the league representing Africa to the highest level. Joel, Pascal and Serge are great example and they proved it in the playoffs. Everyone is contributing to that and at some point, we’ll have the chance to work together to achieve something bigger. We are on the right path.”
Giannis Antekounmpo, the famous Greek player is thriving in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks, the best team in the League as of right now. What do you think of his performances and how do you prepare for the game against his team?
BB: “Giannis is a very good player and the most important is that his team is delivering great performances. For us, it’s a challenge. To be the team that we want to become, we always need to challenge the greatest. Looking at this season for Milwaukee everybody agrees that they’ll be in the final. We know that when Giannis plays, he’s playing to help his team to be in the best condition to perform. He has turned into the MVP which is something that we need to encourage because it shows that with hard work you can achieve great things. Truth is, he’s working hard to get to the level he’s at today and I think that he still has a lot to show. Milwaukee is a very good team, a great challenge for us.”