One of the NBA’s most beloved players is heading abroad. Boris Diaw is going back to his home country after reportedly signing with Paris-Levallois, a professional club in France’s Pro A League based out of metropolitan Paris.
The 35-year-old played in Utah last season, tallying up 73 games and averaging his fewest points per game since his rookie year in Atlanta. But throughout his career, Diaw was one of the most underrated journeymen in the league, playing for five different teams over 14 seasons and notching appearances in more than 1,000 games. Diaw played fewer than 70 games in a season only twice. He was a staple of the Suns’ Seven Seconds or Less teams, and in 2014 he won his sole championship ring as a key member of the Spurs, who put a weight clause in his contract to get the most out of his skills in their fluid system.
Diaw wasn’t a star or anything close to it, but he was a magnetic personality off the court, where he delighted us with his coffee-drinking, wine-sipping, honest personality. I mean, he had an espresso machine built into his locker in San Antonio. As a fellow coffee addict who can’t function without a cup or two daily, I understood.
(In France, Diaw will play at the Palais des sports Marcel-Cerdan, slightly northwest of Paris. I already flexed my Google Maps muscles and found out there’s an espresso cafe only a 10-minute drive away.)
The well of endearing Diaw stories and moments is bottomless. There was the time where Diaw walked into a practice with a cappuccino in his hand, put it down to jump and match Amar’e Stoudemire’s vertical, and walked away sipping his coffee. There was the time he rode a horse in Colombia, the time he talked about his desire to go to space, his children’s story about hippos called Hoops to Hippos, and his short film. He even gave us a meme.
Diaw wasn’t just the most interesting man in the NBA, he was also the one having the most fun, making him cherished in a league full of competitive seriousness. Boris’s game was fun too, and it’s why he was so universally beloved no matter what he did on the court. Heck, even Gregg Popovich said earlier this year that he misses having Diaw as a wine-drinking partner. Now, the whole NBA will miss him. At least for now, because, hey, you never know.
There’s a chance that come March of next year, Biaw will be sitting in a French bistro on a street corner in Paris sipping from a diminutive espresso mug made out of porcelain, when his phone rings and a voice crackles with the message.
“Boris, how’d you like to play in the playoffs again?”
Maybe Pop will be on the line asking for a return to the Spurs ahead of the playoffs. Maybe LeBron will need a craft passer in Cleveland. Or perhaps Steve Kerr will be thinking of adding a piece to his Golden State juggernaut. Whoever it is, there’s still a chance we can get Diaw one last time, making a run at a title. Hopefully, we’ll get some more Coffee Club episodes with his new teammates, too.