Journalist, consultant & historian working across global sport and sports diplomacy. 🇫🇷 soccer & basketball expert; global 🏀. Author of "The Making of Les Bleus: Sport in France, 1958-2010."
One hundred years ago in mid-November, the guns went silent as an armistice ended four years of grueling, total warfare. It was a cruel conflict that devastated Europe, and in the wake of the destruction, modern society came into being. Looking back, the First World War was a watershed that unleashed a series of forces that continue to shape today’s world, including popular entertainment and the global soccer scene.
Let’s make a little wager: when you think of a superpower and sports, you probably think of the epic Cold War conflicts between the United States and the Soviet Union immortalized in popular culture by “Rocky IV,” the controversial 1972 Olympic gold medal US-USSR basketball final, or the “Miracle on Ice” at the 1980 Lake Placid Games.
But what about the less noticeable, but still important relationship between sports and diplomacy?
Sold-out crowds, electrifying contests and the announcement of Kobe Bryant as the competition's Global Ambassador have stoked excitement about FIBA Basketball World Cup qualification around the globe. Six countries have already clinched berths for next summer’s tournament in China. It’s an amazing testament to the game’s resonance across languages and cultures, and just one illustration of how far basketball has come in a relatively short period of time.
The actions spearheaded by U.S. diplomats—and American citizens—in France during 1914 significantly strengthened Franco-American relations in unique, unparalleled ways. This digital timeline outlines the three main storylines, while also providing full access to digitized documents describing what daily life was like on-the-ground for those involved.
Basketball is not what comes to mind when you think of France. But as the home of the world’s oldest basketball court and the biggest basketball tournament in the world, France boasts a unique interaction of basketball history, art, and street culture.
In this episode of THE WAY WE BALL, we trace the country’s rich legacy within the sport and how it’s getting this generation’s best European basketball players, like Sekou Doumbouya, to the NBA. Narrated by A$AP Twelvyy. Look out for Lindsay Sarah Krasnoff
Champion. Activist. Legend. These words line the walls leading into "Billie Jean King: The Road to 75," a photo exhibition that opened last week at the New-York Historical Society in New York City, marking the icon's 75th birthday (Nov. 22, 1943) and impact upon American society and culture.
When soccer news from outside of Europe penetrates the global consciousness, it is often some outlandish item, a curiosity of the can-you-believe-it variety. Two of the more famous incidents to come from West Africa since the turn of the millenium include the February 2002 arrest of Cameroon head coach Winfried Schafer at the Africa Cup of Nations for allegedly planting an amulet on the field and, in the summer of that year, the wild ride of Senegal’s team at the World Cup, where their success was rumored to be aided by the country’s marabouts, which are similar to shamans.
They stood united on the Olympic podium, heads bowed, black-gloved fists raised in the Black Power salute while the "The Star Spangled Banner" rang out to honor athletic achievement. The gesture by US athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico Olympics became one of the century's most iconic sports images, one now celebrated in popular memory as a progressive moment.
The reality, however, was quite different, and this week's 50th anniversary falls at a time when athletes, s...
LeBron James has helped shape the NBA, but it’s another Cleveland basketballer who sowed the seeds for a hoops revolution that’s produced one of the league’s largest cadres of international players: the Frenchies.
This week, NBA players and coaches will kick off the summer’s last Basketball Without Borders camp in Serbia. Basketball Without Borders is a series of clinics and competitions that bring a region’s best youth players together to learn about basketball, leadership and each other. In raising the sporting bar by diffusing skills, tactics and techniques, Basketball Without Borders continues a trend accelerated 70 years ago at the 1948 Olympics, which transformed the way that basketball strategie...
"Tonight, I want us to be remembered by all the French people who are watching," France's Paul Pogba urged his teammates, "by their children, their grandchildren and their great grandchildren, too."
Soccer players and NBA players are helping to spread the gospel of each others’ sports with their mutual admiration society
After France won the World Cup, Les Bleus fans, including some of the country’s NBA players congratulated the new champions on social media. The Charlotte Hornets’ Nicolas Batum, whose Twitter match commentary tracked the final’s ups and downs, chirped his solidarity and shared images of celebrations in Paris, from the Champs Élysées to the Tour Eiffel.
It may seem strange, but in addition to the headliners such as Kylian Mbappé, Paul Pogba, and N’Golo Kanté—one of France’s key players at this World Cup is a player who has only started in three of the six games the team has played through the semifinal.
Blaise Matuidi appeared as a substitute in France’s opener, against Australia.
France and Belgium have clashed on the field for more than 120 years, but on Tuesday, in the World Cup semifinal in Saint Petersburg, the stakes will be higher than ever before. Men who usually play side-by-side as professional teammates will instead be pitted against each other as internationals for one night.
France slayed the naysayers Saturday afternoon in Kazan with a 4-3 triumph over Argentina. Critics had complained that Les Bleus under Didier Deschamps were boring and lackluster. Instead, the world was treated to a thrilling performance, one that finally put into practice what on paper we know about this edition of the team: it is one of the best sides at the World Cup, and in teenager Kylian Mbappé, it has one of the best players at the tournament.