"The Adidas Arena can help us to become a staple of French and European basketball".

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Updated on 07/06/2024
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Photo of Bandja Sy, Paris Basketball player, and Amara Sy, sports director and former Paris Basketball player.
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Just days before the opening of the new 8,000-seat Arena Porte de la Chapelle on February 11th, we met with two figures from Paris Basketball: Amara Sy, the club's sporting director, and Bandja Sy, a player on the pro team. The two brothers are united by a passion for basketball in Paris.
"It's a dream come true, you can even touch it!" Sitting in one of the 8,000 seats at the Adidas Arena, Amara Sy savors the moment. A figure of French basketball, the former player is currently the sporting director of Paris Basketball, the club that has recently taken up residency at the new stadium built at Porte de la Chapelle (18th arrondissement). "I can't wait to see a full house", smiles Bandja Sy, Amara's younger brother who plays with the number 5 on his back. For in the Sy family, basketball is a way of life: their two other brothers, Mamoudou and Mamadou, also play the game.

Paris Basketball plays its first game at the Arena next Sunday. How are you feeling?

Amara Sy: This Arena is unprecedented in Paris! It's so rare in the Betclic Elite to have such a large, modern venue for basketball. It's the biggest basketball arena ever built in the capital. We were consulted extensively during its construction to make it as comfortable as possible for the public making sure spectator experience is optimal. It will attract Parisian general public and people from the surrounding area as well as people who aren't familiar with basketball!
Bandja Sy: The Arena means a whole new dimension for me and my team-mates. To be able to play in such a high-capacity venue, and above all in Paris, is a real opportunity! It's an honor to be able to bring my experience to a team that's growing and aiming for the European basketball elite. I've been lucky enough to play in several countries, the United States, Spain, Serbia, Greece and play with some very talented players like Mickaël and Florent Piétrus. I never had the chance to play with my brother, but he was always there to advise and support me!

Bandja, you were born in Paris and now play for the capital's club. This is a return to your roots?

Bandja Sy: It's a special feeling. I started out playing soccer as a child, but I used to come and watch my three older brothers (all professional basketball players) play regularly. Sometimes they'd go and play at the Halle Carpentier in the 13th arrondissement, and I'd go with them. Playing in Paris is just great! I have my childhood friends and family here, who couldn't always come and see me when I played for clubs abroad.

When I was a child, I used to come and watch my older brothers play at the Halle Carpentier. Playing in Paris is a real pleasure!

Bandja Sy
Paris basketball player

Amara, you grew up in the 18e until the age of 10. What can the Arena bring to Porte de la Chapelle residents?

Amara Sy: It's a working-class neighborhood, which is experiencing some difficulties. All the shopkeepers and residents I meet are delighted with the Arena's arrival: having so many events - concerts, shows, matches all in one place will a lot of pedestrian traffic. It's going to breath new life into a neighborhood that's undergoing major changes.
The 18th arrondissement is where I grew up! It's a district I know well. A few years ago, I bumped into Pascale, my first grade teacher at the rue Houdon school, who helped me a lot back then.

Will the Arena help attract basketball talent to Paris?

Amara Sy: Ever since I started playing basketball, we've been waiting for a club worthy of the name to represent the capital. There have been several unsuccessful attempts. Having such a facility is an opportunity to attract young basketball talent and established players at the club. To be able to play in such conditions is a luxury for a top-level player!
The Adidas Arena can help us to become a staple of French and European basketball It's just the beginning for Paris Basketball!
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