Stephen Curry is my favorite player with Michael Jordan

Since the mid-1980s, he has been the voice of basketball in France. With his expressions that have become legendary, his wording recognizable among a thousand people and his tone well across the Atlantic, George Eddy has marked generations of orange ball fans with his comments on NBA games (among other things) on Channel+.

On Sunday, the most famous French basketball journalist will be at the AccorHotels Arena for the Paris station of the incredible Harlem Globetrotters tour. We took this opportunity to discuss “b-ball” with Mr. George Eddy, as well as to discuss his prolific career. maintenance.

Konbini Sports | What does Harlem Globetrotters mean to you?

George Eddy | This is a team with an interesting history. She was considered the best in the world in the 1940s, when black players were banned in the NBA. The Globetrotters were forced to put together a separate team with players of color and beat the NBA champions for two consecutive years. [Minneapolis Lakers, ndlr]. Today, we’re talking more about the show, written, theatrical like sports. And it still attracts just as much, especially to a younger audience. It’s a show where all generations can meet, which is pretty rare these days.

Can we be a classic basketball fan and love the very public, calibrated, written, and generic performances of the Harlem Globetrotters?

I discovered basketball at the age of eight watching the Harlem Globetrotters at a neighbor’s house in Florida. They gave me a passion for this sport, before I discovered the NBA. Watching these athletes perform incredible dives. It is somewhat similar to Disney. It is excellent for introducing basketball to the little ones, who will be able to take it more seriously.

From your career as a player to a journalist’s career, you are an outstanding witness to the development of basketball in France. How do you see the transformations that have taken place in this sport in France?

Since the beginning of my career at Canal+, 37 years ago, I have seen basketball grow and grow on all levels: marketing, popularity, quality of players, especially those who go to the NBA, halls are full in the middle cities where basketball is ahead of football (Bau, Schulte Limoges, etc.). It continues. For the 2024 Olympics in Paris, where the French team will go to gold, I’m sure almost all matches will be sold out.

“We are as fortunate as the United States to be Olympic champions in 2024.”

Are you sure that the Blues will win the gold medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics?

In the last games we beat Team USA in the first game, and that was really an achievement. We already beat them in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2019. In the final of the Olympics, we lost little by little. They did not control us. We have the same chance as them of becoming Olympic champions in 2024, at home and with the great team, because all the top players will want to be part of the adventure. So I have confidence.

Let’s talk about your career as a sports journalist, 37, I said. When he started, how was the young commentator George Eddy?

When I started working at Canal+, I had no or little journalist training, I learned everything on the job. But I knew the NBA well, I was passionate and have some communication skills inherited from my mother, who is very talkative and connected. It was a major teaching assignment with Charles Petrie, Michel Deniso, Pierre Lescure, and Philip Gildas. I was in the best journalism school possible.

I wanted to absorb it all, learn everything, and make progress in a career. But when I got back to my first game, I got really nervous. With Biétry we were not at all comfortable, everything was new, to be built and presented to our audience. Fortunately, they saw that I had potential, so they gave me the time and tools to advance, allowing me to have a very long career.

We talked earlier about the expansion of basketball in France. Previously, I was the only journalist who makes a living from basketball, today there are dozens of media outlets: online, beIN Sports, RMC, basketball league website, with commentators for every game. There are so many more opportunities now than when I started.

I imported the expression ‘Money Time’

With your own style of commenting, tDid you know that you have distinguished several generations of viewers and basketball fans?

I commented on a lot of matches, and for years we had all the tournaments on Canal+, so even if people didn’t like me, they had no choice but to listen to me commenting. [rires]. When I was young, I was mad at the NBA commentators, like Chick Hearn at the Lakers. I stole phrases from them, but also the spirited and lyrical side. I tried to get the best from everyone to create my own style.

How did you find all these phrases that became legendary? Was it set up or did you just let yourself get carried away?

In American football, John Madden did a lot of onomatopoeia: “BIM! BAM! BOOM! BANG!” They weren’t real words, but he always had something to say and he was saying it with enthusiasm. I stole it from him, and the French public appreciated it. As for the expressions, it was drawn from those typical of American basketball, the audience loved it, and since then, it has become part of the language of French basketball. In Wikipedia, it was written that I imported the expression “time money”. I am very proud of that.

From your first games on TV in the 1960s to today, you’ve watched nearly sixty years of NBA development. Are you more nostalgic or cheerful in the current era?

I’ve been following NBA basketball since the 1960s, and I consider myself almost a historian. Over the course of twenty years, the league and basketball have developed very positively. I was amazed by the technical and athletic qualities of today’s players. I don’t feel nostalgic for the ’90s far from the Michael Jordan epics. He was very beautiful to watch, strong in attack and defense, strong both physically and mentally. The Chicago Bulls were at the top of basketball during that decade.

“I’m still just as excited”

But defensive play so fierce for the Detroit Bad Boys, New York Knicks and Miami Heat Pat Riley was not at all my cup of tea. For me, basketball is all about movement, teamwork, skill, passes, counters, dunks…it’s amazing without being violent. That’s why I prefer the game today, even if looking for a three-point shot can become a cartoon.

But when done right, the Golden State Warriors are the ones who played the best basketball in the history of the sport. Between 2015 and 2019 (5 finals and 3 titles), this team was the absolute top, symbolized by Stephen Curry, my favorite player with Michael Jordan. He gave more importance to 3-point shooting. He shoots more and more, like Damien Lillard or Trae Young, and I find it great that we can shoot so skillfully 10 or 12 meters from the basket.

Sometimes you don’t get tired of watching basketball with all the games out there and plenty of pictures?

I’m still just as passionate, but I can understand that presenting too many matches on the internet and on TV diminishes the importance of each match. Now I’m even more excited about the qualifiers, the Olympics and the at-risk games. I care more than the regular season, as there are a lot of matches. And often, even the players are not excited because there are a lot of confrontations. Abundance reduces the dimensions of the event, which we saw especially in the ’90s. We hung out or watched a game or two a week, it was an event. But we don’t have to see everything.

“You have to go through the defeated chest to raise the cup.”

Finally, your prediction for the NBA playoffs: Who do you see through to the end?

The Phoenix Suns are undoubtedly the frontrunner. They dominated the regular season, reaching the finals last year, advancing 2-0 [défaite 4-2 face aux Milwaukee Bucks, ndlr]. In the history of the NBA, the team that lost the previous year won fifteen times the following year. You have to pass through the defeated chest to raise the cup.

But the Suns are not alone. Facing them, we can find Milwaukee, the defending champion. They are almost my favourite. The Golden State Warriors have been reborn with amazing basketball – another team that can go all out. People are also talking about the Brooklyn Nets, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia Sixers, big guns that can also dream of a coronation. And why not Utah Jazz for Rudy Gobert? They’ve had good regular seasons, and now they should go through to the playoffs.

The following dates for the Harlem Globetrotters in France:

04/26: Le Havre
04/27: Le Mans
04/28: Brest
04/29: Rin
04/30: cognac
05/02: Toulouse
05/03: Narbonne
05/04: Neem
05/05: Aix-en-Provence
05/06: Antibes

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