NBA, Bulls and Pistons announce week of social impact programming in Paris ahead of Jan. 19 game
PARIS – The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced a week of social impact programming that will be hosted in collaboration with the Chicago Bulls, the Detroit Pistons and the French Basketball Federation (FFBB) as part of The NBA Paris Game 2023 Presented by Nike, which will feature the six-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls and the three-time NBA champion Detroit Pistons playing the league’s second regular-season game in Paris at the Accor Arena on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.
The week of events and activities will run through Jan. 19 and will focus on community and youth development, including more than 40 hours of on-court basketball activities that will reach more than 1,000 youth from across Paris and parts of Europe and the Middle East as part of an expanded Jr. NBA Week.
Jr. NBA Week will be comprised of youth basketball clinics focused on teaching the game of basketball, promoting health and wellness, and empowering the next generation of players and coaches. Clinics will feature appearances by French former NBA players Tony Parker, Mickaël Piétrus and Ronny Turiaf, former Charlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego, Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier, former WNBA player Edniesha Curry, and additional NBA players, legends and coaches, including from the Bulls and Pistons.
“The NBA Paris Game 2023 is a celebration of basketball at all levels of the sport, and we’re excited to offer youth basketball players, coaches and referees a dynamic range of development opportunities and experiences in conjunction with our second regular-season game in Paris,” said NBA Associate Vice President of Basketball Operations, Europe and Middle East Neal Meyer. “I want to thank the Bulls and Pistons organizations, along with the FFBB, for their support and participation to bring these activities to life and provide the participants with memorable experiences.”
“After the success in 2020, I am delighted with this new FFBB-NBA collaboration for the return of The NBA Paris Game, in order to make it a great basketball celebration in the capital city and to expose our sport to as many people as possible,” said FFBB President Jean-Pierre Siutat. “Our historic collaboration with the NBA, which began in 2010, is strengthened each year with our national Challenge Benjamin(e)s program in particular, and the launch in 2018 of the Jr. NBA FFBB UNSS League with schools and our clubs. The programming offered by the FFBB and the NBA throughout the week of January 19 is rich and varied and demonstrates the strong dynamic surrounding basketball in France.”
Below please find an overview of the week’s events and activities:
Chicago Bulls Youth Programming
Today as part of Jr. NBA Week, the Bulls will host two Jr. NBA Bulls Clinics for students at Union Nationale du Sport Scolaire (UNSS) and for the City of Paris Girls Team at Gymnase Didot. Piétrus and Bulls mascot “Benny the Bull” will also be in attendance. The team will host a second clinic for local school students from UNSS tomorrow, Jan. 17 at Gymnase Didot.
Detroit Pistons Youth Programming
On Jan. 17 as part of Jr. NBA Week, the Pistons will host two Jr. NBA Pistons Clinics for club players from the City of Paris at Gymnase Didot, led by Borrego. On Jan. 18, the Pistons will host two additional Jr. NBA Pistons Her Time to Play Clinics for students at Union Nationale du Sport Scolaire (UNSS) and for the City of Paris Girls Team, featuring appearances by Collier and Curry.
Local School Jr. NBA Clinics
As part of Jr. NBA Week, the NBA will host three Jr. NBA clinics at Gymnase Didot for more than 100 students ages 12-14 from local schools, focusing on developing basketball skills, sportsmanship and teamwork. The first two clinics will take place today. A third clinic will take place tomorrow, Jan. 17.
Her Time to Play Clinic
On Wednesday, Jan. 18, the NBA, Bulls and Pistons will host a Her Time to Play Clinic for more than 30 young women from Paris Basket 18, a women’s basketball club that works to create gender justice through basketball for young women from the 18th District in Paris. As part of Jr. NBA Week, Bulls and Pistons players and coaches will lead participants through a variety of basketball-related activities. Following the clinic, participants will take part in a discussion about female empowerment with leaders from the league and both teams. Her Time To Play is an initiative dedicated to championing girls and women through sport and providing them with a forum to connect, collaborate, and actively engage with the game of basketball and one another.
NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Clinic
In collaboration with Special Olympics France, the NBA will host 40 Special Olympics athletes and partners for an NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Clinic tomorrow at Gymnase Didot. The clinic will use the game of basketball to unite communities and foster an environment of acceptance and inclusion.
Jr. NBA League Workshop
On Jan. 18 as part of Jr. NBA Week, the NBA will host a Jr. NBA League Workshop for representatives from the league’s more than 111 Jr. NBA Leagues across Europe and the Middle East to share best practices around the program and identify opportunities for collaboration and growth.
NBA Basketball School Camp
On Jan. 18-19, the NBA will host 37 male and female players and 11 coaches from the five NBA Basketball Schools in Italy, Kuwait, Lithuania, Switzerland and the UAE. Players will take part in a training camp experience, including elite drills, team competitions and character development programming, led by Borrego and Collier. They will also attend The NBA Paris Game 2023 and will be recognized on-court during a timeout.
Challenge Benjamin(e)s – Paris Local Selection
The FFBB Jr. NBA Challenge Benjamin(e)s is a series of youth competitions for boys and girls ages 13 and under designed to test shooting, ball handling and passing ability, all while maintaining composure under pressure. The program will include 130 competitions across France over the next few months, culminating with the national finals on April 21-22, with the boys and girls finalists competing for an all-expenses-paid trip to the U.S. to see an NBA game. As part of Jr. NBA Week, on Jan. 18 at Gymnase Didot, 20 boys and 20 girls will compete for the chance to win tickets to The NBA Paris Game 2023 and qualify for the next stage of the FFBB Jr. NBA Challenge Benjamin(e)s. The event will feature appearances by Parker and Piétrus.
NBA Coaches Clinics
The NBA and the FFBB are hosting clinics for more than 500 local basketball coaches to teach techniques and best practices for team and player development at any level. Yesterday’s clinic was led by Borrego and French National Team assistant coach Rudy Nelhomme. Wednesday’s clinic, which will take place at Gymnase Didot, will be led by Pistons assistant coach and Armenia National Team head coach Rex Kalamian, who will be joined by Bulls assistant coaches Brad Burgess and Amadou Mbodji. Top players from the FFBB “Pole France” (INSEP Paris) are participating as a demo team for both clinics, which are being livestreamed on OWQLO, the official Jr. NBA League App in Europe and the Middle East.
NBA Referees Clinics
Today, the NBA and the FFBB will host two referee clinics for elite and national championship referees. The clinics, which focus on the fundamentals of officiating including coverage and partnering, play calling and sequencing, and effective communication with coaches and players, will be led by former NBA referee and NBA Senior Vice President of Referee Development and Training Monty McCutchen, NBA Referee Pipeline and Engagement Lead George Toliver, and NBA Referee Performance and Development Lead Mark Wunderlich.
Jr. NBA x FFBB – 3×3 Tournament
Yesterday, the NBA and the FFBB hosted a 3×3 tournament for young girls and boys ages 15-18, featuring Turiaf. Throughout the day, nine women’s teams and nine men’s teams competed for the chance to win tickets to The NBA Paris Game 2023. The winning teams were Team PLB (Paris Lady Basket) for the girls and Team BAL (Bruce Ata Lawson) for the boys.
NBA Academy Exhibition Games
A U-16 NBA Academy select team comprised of prospects from NBA Academy Latin America, NBA Academy Africa and NBA Global Academy will travel to Paris to participate in exhibition games against European club teams and attend The NBA Paris Game 2023. As part of the competition schedule, the NBA Academy select team will play against Nanterre U-18 (France) on Jan. 18 and 23, Orange Academy (Netherlands) on Jan. 19, INSEP (France) on Jan. 20, and Le Mee U17 (France) on Jan. 21.
In collaboration with Make-A-Wish, the NBA will grant one wish experience for a child and their family to attend The NBA Paris Game 2023. Families will be hosted at the court area during the game and greeted by select NBA legends and Bulls and Pistons players during shootaround.