French NBA player Nicolas Batum: We'll mourn, but 'we'll stay strong'

BY foxsports • November 14, 2015

Somehow, on the same night that unthinkable tragedy unfolded in Paris, Charlotte Hornets wing Nicolas Batum managed to play basketball. Batum, who was born in Lisieux, France and has played for the French national team multiple times, in fact scored 28 points and tallied eight rebounds on Friday.

The score is beside the point, as there were much larger things on Batum's mind. After the game, he told reporters that he'd been on his phone until the last minutes before tip-off. Batum still has family in France, he said, including a sister who lives not far from a site of one of the attacks. The events were on his mind all game, as Batum found motivation to demonstrate strength (via Bleacher Report):

“I thought about it all game,” Batum said. “I wanted to have a good game, to show them in my way that we’re strong. [...]

"I talked to my sister and some friends. Everybody’s all right, but we’re shocked. They told me Paris is like a war outside. Everybody’s outside. Police. The army is outside. It’s difficult because I’m watching the numbers and before the game it said only 40 people were killed and then after the game it was more like 120. It was a sad day for us, but like I said, we’re strong and we’re tough, and we’re going to be all right. We’ll stay strong.”

Batum and the Hornets have four games in the next six nights. He will have ample opportunity to demonstrate that resolve, if little time to mourn. Yet Batum said that there is room and need for both: France will remain strong even as its people grieve:

“I’m fine,” Batum said. “But I’m also not because we lost people for nothing, because of stupid people. We’ve got to stay strong. We’ve got to show them, like I tried tonight, through my way that we’re strong and we won’t step down because you’re doing bad stuff to people.

“We’re going to cry for our people we lost tonight, but we’re going to stay strong, keep our heads up and keep moving forward and show that we’re better than them.”

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