Zach LaVine on playing in NBA Paris Game 2023

PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY 18: Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls chats with Marvin Bagley III and Saddiq Bey of the Detroit Pistons during the Her Time To Play Clinic at the Palais des sports Marcel-Cerdan on January 18, 2023 in Paris, France. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Bulls and Pistons will meet tonight at the Accor Arena in Paris for a regular season game. One of the biggest stars of this game is Zach LaVine. It is not his first time in France, but he has never been to Paris.

Q: What do you like most about the team the chemistry you have? How beneficial is it, chemistry-wise for you?

Zach: Oh, it’s great, guys have been, you know, going out there shopping, bonding, having fun-me drinking wine it’s been fun.

Q: Is it your first time in Paris?

Zach: First time in Paris. I’ve been south of France before and Italy. But Paris is amazing. Looking at the architects and seeing all the buildings and the history, I love it.

Q: Do you think it’s a basketball country?

Zach: Of course, obviously, you can just look around here and see the crowd that we have, walking around, people recognize us and I think the game’s gonna be electric too.

Q: Is it important for NBA to play in Europe and France?

Zach: Yeah some of the best players in our league are from overseas in Europe. The game just keeps growing. Obviously, us coming over here having an NBA game, to where you guys don’t get to see us all the time is amazing.

You’re gonna enjoy yourself for sure. You don’t want to take it for granted but we’re here for basketball so we have to focus on winning the game.

Q: What do you expect from the French fans tomorrow?

Zach: I think it’s a great reception not just for us, but Detroit too. We’re gonna go out there and have a great game and hopefully they enjoy the spirit of competition.

Q: What’s one thing you want to improve the second part of the season

Zach: More consistently winning games. We’ve won a lot of big games, and we lost some games that we don’t think we should have.

Q: Why are you here in Paris?

Zach: Great, great, great opportunity, not just for us but for the entire Chicago organization, come to a city like Paris and play front of the fans that don’t get to see NBA basketball all the time. I’ve enjoyed it so far. But we’re here to win a game so I’m excited.

Q: You guys last came here in the 90s with Michael [Jordan]. Do you think that helped improve NBA support in Europe?

Zach: It’s great how we see the NBA/the game today and the players, none of that’s possible without Michael Jordan. He inspired a lot of us and, via the organization they came here 25 years later, it’s great. I know they played a preseason game here. We’re playing NBA games, so it’s a little bit different. These games count so we’re going to enjoy Paris, but we got to win a game.

Q: The purpose of this trip is to grow the sport of basketball, but we’ve seen an influx of European players in the NBA for many years. From Giannis now to Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, great players. Does that mean the Americans have to up their game?

Zach: No. It just shows how much better the world has gotten. I don’t want to say catching up, but even you know, playing into the Olympics it’s not easy. We just won a gold medal and we had a really hard time, playing against these teams over here. It just shows how good the game has grown. Some of the best players in the NBA like you said, you know, are from Europe or overseas. It’s not just American players got to up their game, basketball in general has just gotten so much better. I think it’s good for everybody.

Q: People talk about the rivalries, is that between the players themselves, or is it what the fans bring to the stadium?

Zach: There are rivalries that rule the history with certain teams, but I think now it’s starting to be more player on player and best players versus the best players on the other team. And that makes it all fun, you can either route for somebody or route for a team.

Q: What do you think about Victor Wembanyama?

Zach: We all heard about him, he can do everything, he’ll be in the NBA very shortly and we gunna have to deal with him. He’s going to be great.

Q: Do you get a sense of how popular the Bulls are over here?

Zach: A little bit just walking around, people recognizing us obviously you know the Bulls as a franchise one of the most popular in the world. It’s just an honor to come back over here you know, 25 years later after they’ve been here, obviously Michael and everybody, we’re enjoying it.

Q: Who is the best dunker in the NBA right now? Ja Morant?

Zach: Ja Morant is crazy he can do anything. Shoot, LeBron still dunking on everybody too. We got our team, Derrick Jones Jr. that dunks on everybody as well. Anthony Edwards as well, there are so many guys in the NBA that can dunk on you and that’s why it’s important sometimes to just get out the way.

Q: Talking of LeBron, he will break the scoring record at some point this season, how important is he to the league?

Zach: What he’s done for the game in growing and not just on the court, but off the court business wise. LeBron is one of the greats, for him to be this good at the age that he is, he’s averaging like 38. It’s unheard of. We’ve been we’ve been seeing it for 20 years. There’s nothing like it.

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