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Volume 7 No. 149
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Hangin' With ... Paris Basketball President David Kahn

Paris Basketball President David Kahn with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo at a joint presser in Paris.

Former NBA Minnesota Timberwolves President of Operations DAVID KAHN is the president of newly-formed professional basketball team Paris Basketball. The team will compete in France’s second-tier Pro B division next season. Kahn announced the move on July 12 in a press conference with Paris Mayor ANNE HIDALGO, who gave her support to the project. His goal is to have the team competing in the EuroLeague by '20. In an interview, Khan spoke about his experience with French basketball and his ambitions for the new club.

On his relationship with Paris ... 
David Kahn: I love Europe, France and, especially, Paris. I discovered the city at 22 and I had the chance to “play” in the Bercy area when I ran the Timberwolves in '10. In recent months, I’ve made 19 round trips to the city from the United States, and I’m planning on settling there very soon.

On creating a club in Paris ... 
Kahn: Paris is the most beautiful city in the world with a fantastic energy, just like New York in that way. I couldn’t understand why a capital city like this still didn’t have a team in the EuroLeague. … EuroLeague already confirmed they want a big Parisian club. They like our project. I’m convinced Paris has the means to create a global basketball brand. I do mean brand, not just a team or club. The brand is “Paris Basketball.” … Nowhere else in the world have I seen more people wearing NBA jerseys. Outside the U.S., Paris has the biggest potential of young players on the planet. Paris must become French basketball’s standard bearer in EuroLeague.

On bringing his NBA experience to Paris ...
Kahn: Paris Basketball is not an American team run by Americans. It is French and Parisian. Our cultures are not the same. It is up to me to adapt and it’s on me to learn, because I don’t have all the answers. Even if there are things from the NBA that can inspire us, our project is rooted in the reality of Parisian basketball.

On purchasing the rights to former club Hyères-Toulon ...
Kahn: I understand that this is not usual in France, but it is allowed. It should be known that Hyères-Toulon came to us in November because of their financial struggles. We had the choice: either take a wildcard to start in [third-tier league National 1] N1 or purchase the rights to take their place.

On where the club will play ...
Kahn: The new Arena 2 will be built in Porte de la Chapelle and will be operational by ’21. We will play at the [multi-sport arena] Halle Georges Carpentier for the first three seasons. We will make a few arrangements [there] so that the public feels closer to the floor. We want to create a spectacle. ... We want to grow step by step to become a French club with international ambition. We will target the EuroLeague when we move to the Arena. Before that, we have so much work to do: to learn, build and consolidate.

Read more from Kahn on LE PARISIEN.

Hangin' With runs each Friday in SBD Global.