Last weekend, I boarded a plane to Paris with my colleague Sophia to visit the infamous QUAI54 Streetball World Championship. Being a huge basketball fan my whole life this invitation from Jordan Brand was sent to the perfect recipient.
I was really excited and curious what these days would have in store for me. In preparation for the event, my colleague and I tried to figure out which social media posts we could share with our followers. Being the KICKZ Instagram Guy, it was obvious that Instagram would be our weapon of choice. Easy. Then came Friday, the day before we would leave and we received the info that…
Jordan Brand reserved a slot in the media session for us and I got an interview with not one but three NBA players at the same time! Suddenly a kind of nervousness arose in me. I, who never interviewed anybody in his life before, got an interview with Kemba Walker, Jabari Parker and Victor Oladipo. Lucky me!
After an interesting, but not so stressful Day 1, my interview was looming on Day 2. I couldn’t think of anything else the whole day. Hopefully I would pull it off without any major blackouts. – Side note: a German colleague at an adidas event puked right at the interview spot while waiting for Danilo Gallinari to arrive a couple weeks before… – When the clock struck 3 pm, my time came. Of course, I was nervous as hell.
But when I entered the room and shook the players’ hands, I was really calm and collected. The 3 of them were relaxed and friendly and made it easy for me to talk to them. Especially Kemba and Jabari were extremely laid back and open to my questions. Thank God!
Check out my interview, the transformation from fanboy to reporter, below and see what their favorite pairs of Jordans are!
Wait for the icing on the cake at the end…
Me: Victor, what do you think of the Q54 and its atmosphere? Have you been to Paris before?
Oladipo: It’s my first time in Paris actually. Q54 has been a great experience so far, just coming out here and enjoying the games and the atmosphere, this is what basketball is all about. So I’m just glad to be here and glad to experience this with these guys.
Me: Kemba, what is your connection to streetball? Being from New York, have you yourself learned to play the game of basketball on street courts?
Walker: That’s where it started for me. I’ve been playing streetball ever since I was a little kid. There are a bunch of courts around my neighborhood and I also brought my five to other neighborhoods. So streetball has always been special to me and this is also what makes events like these so important.
Me: Jabari, in your opinion, what is so special about streetball? Do you need different skills compared to professional basketball?
Parker: I feel like the basic skills you got to have are grit and heart. You can’t just let people do whatever and embarass you, because playing in front of your neighborhood, in front of your home crowd is important, you can hear everybody. If you don’t play good outside, you don’t mean nothing, that’s just how it is. People will not respect you.
Me: Vic, you’ve been traded to the Pacers, a team in need of a go-to-guy, are you ready to fill that role? What are your goals for next season, do you think you can be the MIP?
Oladipo: First and foremost I just have to get to know everybody, the team, the coaches, the whole organization and get a feeling of what they want from me. Then I’ll just go out there and play basketball. The opportunity will present itself, I got a lot more opportunity now, I just have to make the most of it.
Me: Kemba, Michael Jordan, the GOAT, is the Hornets’ owner, how does it feel having him on the sideline? Does it give you extra pressure? Have you ever played 1-on-1 against him?
Walker: It’s always a little bit surreal. We all enjoy it, he’s a good dude. But when I’m playing I don’t give him too much attention. I need to concentrate on the game. But it’s good to have him on the sideline. He makes us sharper, gets us hyped, you could say he gives us a little boost of energy. I think a lot of games that MJ has been to, we’ve played well so it does help.
Me: Have you ever played 1-on-1 against him?
Walker: I never did no. But I think I would beat him. No I doubt it, he’d probably win. I’d let him win…
Me: Would you beat Lavar Ball?
Walker: Lavar Ball?! Haha! I’m not gonna lie, I don’t wanna talk about that man…
Me: Jabari, you had some crazy Jordan PEs throughout your career, what is your favorite pair of Jordans in your personal collection?
Parker: My favorite Jordans are the Black Cement 3s. No doubt.
Me: Vic and Kemba, what about your favorites?
Oladipo: I definitely like Jordan 2s the most.
Walker: My all time favorites are the white and red Jordan 12s.
Me: Thanks for the interview guys!
Jabari Parker: Mind if I take a picture of your tat? That shit is super dope man!
Me: Of course 😎
…yes, Jabari Parker asked me for a pic! Haha!