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Basketball: "We're not here to be", why the League is finally valuing former players


Highlights: The French National League has launched the "LNB Legends" project. The initiative aims to promote the heritage of French basketball. 26 former players have been selected to be part of the project. Frédéric Weis, Amara Sy, Pape-Philippe Amagou, Mamoutou Diarra and Crawford Palmer are part of it. Weis: "These legends are virtuosos, artists, there's even an actor," says the CEO of the LNB.

On Thursday, the National League presented its "LNB Legends" project, which, through initiatives, should highlight former players

Just two years ago, he would have turned down the offer. "I hated the League," says Frédéric Weis. But in recent months, the heads have changed within the body, the situation has evolved, tensions have eased and the former pivot of Les Bleus has agreed to participate in this new adventure. On Thursday morning, at the League's headquarters in the 5th arrondissement of the capital, Weis was present for the official launch of the "LNB Légendes". He was joined by four former playing partners - Amara Sy, Pape-Philippe Amagou, Mamoutou Diarra and Crawford Palmer - for a 5-star <> major.

"The objective is to promote the heritage of French basketball," explains Fabrice Jouhaud, general manager of the LNB. We want to remember that great players have passed through the League, even before its creation in 1987. These players, who have had insufficient recognition, have a vision of basketball and can participate in its development. »

"These legends are virtuosos, artists, there's even an actor," says the CEO, pointing to Weis, who played a role in the film "L'Abbé Pierre - Une vie de combats".

In an effort to promote its history, the @LNBofficiel launched the LNB Legends initiative.
I share with you the link to the nice site specially created for the occasion.

Enjoy your discovery😉#lnblégendes

— Ali D Traoré (@bomaye12) November 15, 2023

To be part of this selection of "legends" - a kind of Hall of Fame that does not bear the name - you must meet a few criteria, have participated in at least 100 games in the League (Betclic or Pro B), have worn the jersey of the France team 50 times or have been elected MVP. "The criteria are not set in stone, this can change," says Jouhaud. French and foreign players - and even coaches - are concerned. To date, this "temple of the League" has 26 players, from Antoine Rigaudeau to Victor Wembanyama ("we weren't going to wait until the end of his career", smiles Jouhaud) via Tony Parker, Boris Diaw or the late Thierry Rupert, Ludovic Vaty or Fred Forte.

Their missions will be to "transmit" this heritage, "develop training", "promote young players" so that they no longer go to Australia or an American university, "create links" and "participate in events in clubs or with fans" to make the League known. "It's not normal that a young person doesn't know Antoine Rigaudeau, but all the former NBA players," says Amara Sy. This is an initiative that should have come sooner, but better late than never. However, belonging to this "Bureau des Légendes" does not oblige their members to participate in these actions.

This recognition of the "old" is a small revolution in the world of the big orange ball in France where, unlike what happens in the United States and many European countries, the place left to the old players of the game is tiny. The lack of action in France after the silver medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 is one of the most symptomatic examples. "There's been inertia over the last 30 years," Palmer said. "When I stopped my career, I went to see Jean-Pierre Siutat (president of the French Basketball Federation) to tell him that I wanted to get involved, he made me understand that I didn't have the skills and my request went unheeded," says Weis.

"There was a gap after the career, that's why a lot of people liked the league's approach," Palmer said. If there have been tensions before, it was because there was frustration. We were never asked if we could bring anything. We all have things to say that can be useful. At the first gathering in September, Antoine Rigaudeau welcomed this initiative because it was the first time he had been asked to give his opinion. The former King of French basketball would also be one of the main forces of proposals.

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A post shared by Ligue Nationale de Basket (@lnb_officiel)

"We keep our freedom of tone, we are free to say what we think, that was one of the conditions at the beginning," says Fred Weis, now a consultant for many media outlets. We all come from different backgrounds, we all bring different things to the table. We have things to say. We're not here to be pushovers but to reflect on our sport. »

The League, which has launched a special website, is expected to gradually enrich it with content to reach out and reach a population that goes beyond the confines of a basketball court. To imitate French rugby. "The first brick of the foundation is the players," says Fabrice Jouhaud. "It's important to put the players at the centre, people come to see the players," said Amara Sy, an executive at Paris Basketball and president of the players' union. It can be the start of something very interesting. »

Source: leparis

All sports articles on 2023-12-07

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