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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Rich Jones

Chicago Bulls make history as NBA heads to Paris and evoke Last Dance memories

The Last Dance started with a trip to Paris and saw Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ destiny intertwined with the Detroit Pistons.

With that in mind, it is somewhat fitting that those two teams will make history with the Bulls’ first ever regular season game outside of North America in the French capital. Whilst the glory days of the two teams being title contenders are not back just yet, that will not be enough to damp the excitement gripping the City of Light.

The storyline of the Bulls and Pistons facing off is not lost on Bulls star Goran Dragic, neither is the importance of giving fans across the Atlantic a chance to interact with the game’s biggest stars.

Fans from across Europe and the world are set to flock to watch the two teams do battle in the NBA’s one regular-season game outside of North America this season. A survey by has shown a 55% surge in hotel searches in the city prior to the NBA coming to town with Americans and Koreans leading the international following booking out hotels.

Dragic told Mirror Sport : “For the fanbase, it's just awesome to travel to a different continent and interact with different followers. It’s truly awesome to bring NBA games to Europe so the European fans can connect to the league and come watch all these incredible players.

“The history between the Bad Boy Pistons and the Chicago Bulls is awesome, although those games were different than now; a lot more physical and fiery. It’s great these two franchises are set to come to Europe and put on a spectacle.”

Whilst supporters are excited for a rare chance to see the NBA’s superstars in action, the players themselves share similar enthusiasm about the chance to take in a brand new culture.

For many of the Bulls’ young players, it is their first time ever leaving North America. Amongst them is guard Patrick Williams, who told : “These are moments we’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Goran Dragic is amongst the Bulls stars out to put on a show in France (Getty Images)

“Not many people are able to travel as much as we do and see as much as we do, so it’s something you won’t forget. And it’s always good to have the memories you can share with your family and teammates. For me, they have some cool museums there; see those and obviously the shopping.”

European duo Nikola Vučević and Goran Dragic are being pointed to by many teammates to show the ropes. Vucevic heads to Paris off the back of a career-high 43-point in a surprise win over the Golden State Warriors at the weekend.

He’s now looking to build on that in a familiar environment as one of the few players to have visited - albeit never played in - Paris before. He spent much of his childhood in Belgium and speaks French as a result.

"Have traveled there many times,” Vucevic told “I love Paris, the history, the monuments. It’s a wonderful place for just walking around. I’m a history student and always have been curious about the French kings.

“It’s important to know the history of the world and how we got to where we are. We learned a lot about that in school. I’ve been there for Fashion Week and often go to the museums. My favourite is Versailles. Obviously, the kings knew how to live.”

“An awesome city, unbelievably beautiful,” said Dragić. “The architecture, a lot of history. And then you have so many things to do if it’s Fashion Week. I’ve been there for Fashion Week, which is unbelievable. Really liked Versailles (the palace for kings). Unbelievable to see that in person, the gardens, the mirrors.”

The Bulls landed in the French capital earlier this week with family members in tow looking to make the most of the experience. Williams sees it as a prime opportunity to bond as a team.

“Something I’m looking forward to and will get to share with teammates and family,” Williams added. “My brother Eddie is going.

“They (Bulls) asked us about a month ago if we want to have team events or guys have personal time to explore. Guys said a mixture. So we’re having a couple of team dinners and guys are bringing family members or friends for personal time.”

Michael Jordan and the Bulls visited Paris in pre-season in 1997 before their second three-peat (VINCENT LAFORET/AFP via Getty Images)

The pre-season trip to Paris proved the start of the Bulls’ second three-peat documented on the hit Netflix documentary in the 1997/98 season. Whilst it’s unlikely the Bulls will have a trip to Paris and a title celebration in the same season this time around, there are high hopes their clash with the struggling Pistons will be a positive moment for a young and improving team.

Regardless of the result on Thursday night at the Accor Arena, the travelling Bulls will bring plenty of fanfare with their presence a rare treat for fans across the Atlantic.

British fans have backed the Bulls to win in a nearly unanimous verdict, with almost 80% taking part in a survey predicting a win. That result is perhaps no surprise as the Bulls rank as the top NBA team that UK fans would travel to watch, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks.

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