The French Connection: Boris Diaw & Elie Okobo Catch Up with Suns Fans On Valley Chatz, Brought To You By Firstbank, This Sunday

by Sean Gale

Frenchmen Boris Diaw and Elie Okobo joined Phoenix Suns broadcaster Tom Leander in the latest installment of Valley Chatz, brought to you by FirstBank to talk about the history of their relationship, the French influence in the modern NBA and more.

The newest Valley Chatz episode will premiere on Sunday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m. (PT) on Suns.com/now and FOX Sports Arizona, the team’s exclusive local television station, prior to “Sunsday” at 7 p.m. 

After two up-and-down years with the Atlanta Hawks, Diaw was traded to Phoenix in the summer of 2005 and made an immediate impact on the court for the Suns en route to winning the NBA Most Improved Player Award during his first season in the Valley. 

“It really gave me the chance to start a real career in the NBA,” Diaw mentioned about his time in Phoenix. “I have so many good memories and had such a good time here.”

Diaw’s positional versatility and unselfishness made him a perfect fit for the Suns’ high-octane approach, earning the nickname “3D” for his ability to drive, dish and defend.  A fan favorite among basketball fans in the Valley, Diaw was also an inspiration for aspiring hoopers in his home country of France more than 5,000 miles away. 

“Boris is from my hometown, so he was like The Man over there,” said Okobo. “He was so smart on the court. He was athletic. He could find open teammates and he was guarding the ball, too.”

Diaw & Okobo first connected when Elie was just seven years old. In fact, Diaw often played basketball at a local playground in Bordeaux with Elie’s father.

Okobo shared that Diaw’s guidance has helped him develop throughout his basketball career, especially during his transition to the NBA from France two summers ago. Diaw has always taken great pride in helping the next generation of French players thrive in their basketball careers, something that drew him to his current position as Deputy General Manager of the French national team. 

During the exclusive conversation, Diaw & Okobo also spoke about how their families are holding up during quarantine, who they think are the best French players in the NBA and Okobo’s cameo in Drake’s “Chicago Freestyle” music video earlier this year.

Fans are encouraged to check out Suns.com/now to discover upcoming Valley Chatz guests and submit questions for the discussion, providing a forum to glean insight from Suns and Mercury personalities about the things fans want to hear about. Tom Leander will lead the conversations with special quests that will provide updates and commentary on a wide array of topics.

 

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