Punctual, he arrived, this Wednesday morning, in the premises of Parisien – Today-in-France with one minute ahead of schedule. Confined at home, in Gironde, the former French international Boris Diaw (38 years old, 247 caps) had the right to leave his home for a few days to defend the cause of the Arbitration Days, of which he is the sponsor. Before continuing his media marathon with a stint at Big Heads on RTL and at the Moscato Show on RMC, the former European (2013) and NBA (2014) champion, usually discreet about his commitments, returned to his relationship with referees and the health situation that affects sport.
You are a discreet personality, why did you agree to be the sponsor of Arbitration Days?
BORIS DIAW. To highlight, especially among young people, the values of respect that we should have towards referees and highlight their essential role. Without players there is no match, but without referees either. We must not forget that this is a mission of general interest and of public service.
How did you behave with the referees?
Kid, when I was hissed, it mostly made me laugh but afterwards, when you turn pro, you take things more to heart. There may be consequences on your career, on your next contract. But overall, I have always had a good relationship with the referees. I rarely act in bad faith, normally I always recognize when I made a mistake (he smiles).
The function is often criticized. Why ?
It’s human. There is a stake, when you play it is to win so you can get upset if you think there is a mistake. But you don’t keep any animosity. No one makes good decisions, be it a player or a referee. Sometimes you are good, sometimes you are not. There is nothing bad about it.
Would you have made a good referee?
It is not too late (laughs). As much as I can no longer be a good player, I also think I can do it as a referee.
You say that the referee has a mission of general interest, what about the athlete? We have seen that your friend Tony Parker spoke to defend French sport affected by the health crisis …
Yes, it is good that some are taking the floor, it helps to move things forward. It is important. Tony did it to defend his club ( Editor’s note: Asvel Lyon Villeurbanne ) and sport in general. Someone like Kylian Mbappé impresses me with his maturity and I can see him defending causes. It would be great. But I’m not as famous as them and I don’t have an appetite for it. If something displeases me or appeals to me I will do it my way, without it being publicized. But I haven’t planned anything yet.
Does the sporting situation in France worry you?
Of course, there are the consequences for sport but also for all of society. All sectors and all trades are suffering today with this pandemic. It is good that ambassadors from each trade are coming forward and being heard. I come from the sports world but I have a broader vision too. It’s a global crisis, but I don’t think I have the legitimacy to speak out.
How are you coping with this new confinement?
Like everyone else, I take my trouble patiently. I try to take advantage of it to make myself useful. But it is a deprivation of freedom, of movement. I had planned that my post-career would allow me to travel, to discover things, to go where I want when I want. This is not currently possible. I can’t even navigate my boat. It’s forbidden. I can’t wait for the vaccine to arrive. This could make it possible to find a more normal life and to live the Olympics ( Editor’s note: in Tokyo next summer ) appeased.
Worried the Games would be canceled?
Nothing seems to be able to prevent a third wave except a vaccine. With the number of athletes and countries participating in the Olympics, this is necessarily a delicate subject. I would also like to see the public again in the stadiums. I attended a football match in Bordeaux, it’s very strange. You feel like you’re in training, you hear everything… It’s horrible. The audience is part of the game. As an athlete, we prefer to be with a boiling audience that whistles against us than without.
Four young French people participate in the NBA Draft this Wednesday evening. What does this moment represent?
It reminds me of old memories now. You have butterflies in your stomach (sic), you wait for your name to come out, you are in stress during the hours preceding. Everything goes very quickly. They will quickly switch to another world. Their life will suddenly change. But what a life!
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr