He recently crowded the floors of the NBA alongside the biggest stars of world basketball. Toulousain Olivier Sarr was recruited at the end of December for a 10-day contract by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Born in Niort, then passed through Le Bouscat near Bordeaux and in the basketball camps of Kameet Bordeaux « where I had the love of basketball and where I progressed individually », the young interior sets its suitcases in the Pink City at the TOAC « I knew the Minimes France over there ». The regional of the stage will even confide in us having fun talking to us because « I listened 100% to Mazamet, my grandmother is from there » [ votre radio régionale préférée a été fondée dans le sud du Tarn ]. After Insep, he crosses the Atlantic after a Bac S with very good mention « studies have always been important » he explains, « I was too frail to go pro straight away, so I couldn’t find anything better than US University. » He spent 3 years at Wake Forrest then headed to Kentucky.
A childhood dream
Play his first minutes in the NBA « it’s an incredible pride, it gives a lot of pleasure for the people who accompany me » smiles the young man for whom now the American championship « is no longer just a dream, but a goal ». His former TOAC teammates still send him messages on Instagram. In terms of training, he keeps fond memories « inter-zone basketball camps in Temple-sur-Lot, my years at Wake Forrest, the French teams and the last year in Kentucky « and underlines the difference with the US basketball « in France you really learn the principles of collective play, technical gestures, while in the United States you have to be better than your counterpart, basketball is based on individual prowess and spectacle ».
A 10-day contract: « like an internship «
His 10-day contract, he takes full advantage « it’s like an internship in a company » he jokes « I watch how the pros do, some have been there for 10 years », so Olivier asks a lot of questions. « It’s also a job interview because everyone knows each other in the NBA « , the first impression left must be the right one « including the physiotherapist, the security personnel: everything is important ». Teams bet millions of dollars so « They have to know if you are a good teammate, if you can build something ».
To the young Frenchman who would rub shoulders with the world basketball elite, he advises the discipline « remember why he came, pay attention to the surroundings as there are a lot of distractions. » To finally be able to do like his models on the floors « Kobe, Kevin Durant during my Insep years, Hakim Ola Jouan, Kevin Garnett for the intensity, Tim Duncan for the fundamentals, Nikola Jokić for his patience and his playing intelligence ».
For his possible extension, he therefore keeps a cool head « I have good feedback from the coaches but it’s a business, there are people who have the Covid and who come back, so we’ll see if it will be with the Thunder » or if Olivier Sar will bounce back elsewhere …