Portland Trail Blazers' Nicolas Batum is one of the many French players who have made an impact on the NBA. He along with San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Nando De Colo and Chicago's Joakim Noah, are paving the way for future French players and making their mark on the league.
With many French players currently in the NBA, and on the Spurs, Batum says there tends to be some smack talk in French whenever his fellow countrymen clash on the court.
After the Spurs and Blazers played on March 8 in San Antonio, I caught up with Batum and got his thoughts playing against "Team France" aka the Spurs, talking trash in French, the progress of rookie Nando De Colo, and more including who his favorite French player was when he was growing up.
Project Spurs: How do you like playing against Team France also known as the Spurs?
Batum: (Laughs) I love to play against them.
Is there a lot of trash talking in French?
(Smiles) A little bit but not that much.
So what so you think about Tony (Parker), Boris (Diaw) and Nando (De Colo) all playing with one another?
When we were back on the (French) national team, when I saw De Colo play (versus Spurs), I know all the plays because they run them on the national team. So I know all the plays! (laughs)
What are your thoughts on Nando's rookie season?
He's going to be good. I like Nando. I've played against him for more than 10 years since he was a young guy.
Of course Boris has been around the game for a long time.
Yeah when he played in France, he was my favorite player.
Before he went down with an injury, did you think Tony had a shot at winning the NBA MVP?
No. LeBron (James) is just ridiculous. We all now what's he's done. Last year he was the best player on the best team and again this year. So we give him a lot of consideration.
What do you think about the Spurs this year?
They're a great, great team. They can compete for the championship.
So for so long there have been rumors about you coming to the Spurs. Were you ever close to coming to San Antonio?
Let me tell you a little story. During the (2005) NBA Draft they (Spurs) were trying to get me and I got picked before them. So when I got into the draft, they told me they were going to pick me so I was ready to go there.
Well who knows, maybe one day this team will be all French with you on the team.
It's possible, yeah!