Is Paris a basketball town? Nike and Jordan Brand did their best to make sure that is. The two athletic labels hosted the Quai 54 World Streetball Championship in the French capital this weekend, and pulled out all the stops to impress local fans and visitors from around the world.
Teams from the U.S., U.K., Guinea, Spain, Latvia, Croatia, Netherlands, Belgium, China and France squared off in a tournament held in the historic Place de la Concorde public square. The final game was an all-French showdown between “La Releve” Yard and “Fusion Team,” with “La Releve” taking home the trophy.
Foot Locker’s House of Hoops also hosted a dunk contest, which Poland’s Rafael “Lipek” Lipinski won for the second time in a row.
Competitors in the tournament were outfitted in the latest Nike basketball and Jordan gear, including the Nike LeBron Soldier 9 and a special-edition Quai 54 Air Jordan XX9 sneaker, shown here:
To celebrate the global event, Nike also created a special exhibition, the Jordan Brand Palais 23, that featured a curated selection of iconic artifacts and images from Michael Jordan’s career, and showcased many of Jordan Brand’s current marquee athletes, such as Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook.
Jordan himself was on hand to introduce the space and sat down with legendary Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield for a public conversation about the evolution of sneakers and the game of basketball.
“We’ve seen more European players break through in recent years,” he told the crowd. “I do think it has changed the game. You see more versatility, you see bigger players who can handle the ball and shoot threes. It has only enhanced the game globally.”
While the Jordan Brand Palais 23 experience closed on Sunday, MJ has left a more lasting mark on Paris with the Jordan Legacy Court, which opened over the weekend in the 20th Arrondissement. Created in conjunction with the office of the Mayor of Paris, the public basketball court is intended to “encourage future generations to elevate their game,” according to Nike.