by Alex Poletti
Photo by BENNY SIEU-USA TODAY SPORTS
The NBA sent one of its best ambassadors overseas to play in Paris for the inaugural Paris NBA game at the AccorHotels Arena. The Frenchmen got exactly what they bargained for, as Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo showed the Parisians what basketball is all about by absolutely posterizing a baguette within the first few minutes of play.
“It was one of his best plays all season,” teammate Kris Middleton says. “He was going down the court pretty much by himself, and there was a stray baguette on the court. I think that’s a French welcoming custom or something. Anyway, he just jumped over the bread and dunked on it.”
Has there ever been a better image of culture clash as this? The most American and French things known to man—the NBA MVP and a piece of bread, respectively—met on the court. One prevailed.
“Giannis really represents the American dream,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer says. “He’s an immigrant from another country, but one that’s still white enough for our government to feel comfortable, and then he rises to superstardom. It was very symbolic to see him match up against a baguette lying on the court. I think it’s going to mean a lot to Americans for years to come.”
In a time when America’s foreign power, morality and leadership has been under mass scrutiny, a man like Giannis was necessary to maintain the image of world dominance to which the United States so desperately clings. Especially with France, whose president Emmanuel Macron has openly bickered with the POTUS, such a sign was necessary.
“Look man, I don’t want to make this bigger than it is,” Antetokounmpo says when asked about the issue. “I just go out there every day and do my job. I’m not in it for whatever superiority complex my country is pushing. If I see a baguette on the court and it’s blocking my shot, I’m gonna do what I have to do. It’s not political and it’s not personal.”
According to fans at the stadium, the baguette was among the most French in the country. It sported a beret and smoked a cigarette before, during and after the dunk. When The Second String reached out to the baguette for an interview, the response was unsurprisingly and robustly French.
“You think it matters if some Greek man playing a game that means nothing gets his little ball in a net?” the baguette says, reading a worn copy of Jean-Paul Sartre’s “No Exit.” “We will all die. No one will remember this, or anything we do. I find this man’s attempt at fame and fortune futile and pitiful. But c’est la vie, I suppose.”