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Monday, April 15, 2024

San Antonio Spurs Set to Hit Paris Next Season

Gregg Popovich, head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, confirmed on Sunday night that the team is bound for Paris next season. This revelation, which aligns with previous hints dropped by former Spurs guard Tony Parker, adds another layer of excitement to the NBA’s international expansion efforts.

“We’re going there,” Popovich affirmed following the Spurs’ victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Austin, Texas—a game designated as a home fixture for the Spurs.

Victor Wembanyama, the rising French basketball star and frontrunner for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award this season, expressed his anticipation for the Paris trip. “I’m looking forward to it very much,” Wembanyama remarked, underscoring the significance of potentially playing on his home turf in front of his fellow countrymen.

While the NBA has yet to formally announce the participating teams for the Paris games, it has been widely speculated that the Spurs and the Indiana Pacers will be among the selected franchises. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hinted at Wembanyama’s desire to see the Spurs in action in France during the All-Star Game last month.

The specifics of the Paris trip, such as whether it will be a one-game or two-game venture for the Spurs, remain unclear. Parker, during this year’s NBA Paris Game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Cleveland Cavaliers, suggested the likelihood of two games being played in France next season. Wembanyama echoed this sentiment, hinting at the potential significance of the occasion for him personally.

The NBA’s foray into Paris has gained momentum in recent years, with three regular-season games held in the French capital since 2020, all in January. While the league has yet to announce the schedule of international games for the upcoming season, Silver has indicated that Mexico City is also expected to return to the NBA slate for the 2024-25 season.

“The chances are very high,” Silver remarked during a visit to Mexico City earlier this season, underscoring the league’s commitment to global outreach.

In addition to his NBA commitments, Wembanyama is poised to represent his country in the Paris Olympics this summer, further solidifying his status as one of basketball’s most promising talents.

As the NBA continues to expand its reach beyond U.S. borders, the upcoming Paris trip holds immense significance for both the league and players like Wembanyama, providing a platform to showcase the sport’s global appeal and celebrate the rich diversity of basketball talent around the world.

Dan O'Brien
Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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