Basketball: Kevin Durant in attendance as Roca Team scrape past Strasbourg in playoff opener

kevin durant roca team

In their hunt for a final piece of silverware this season, AS Monaco Basketball ensured a winning start to their Betclic Elite playoff series against Strasbourg (88-84) on Wednesday, in front of an onlooking Kevin Durant.

“It’s even harder than the Euroleague! I’m mentally and physically more tired,” said an exhausted Sasa Obradovic after a tight game that went the distance at the Salle Gaston Médecin.

“The Euroleague is finished. We need to move on. We mustn’t take these games lightly,” said Éłie Okobo (17 points) post-match.

The comments were in reaction to a match that certainly wasn’t dominated by the Roca Team. Quite the opposite…

Photo of Mike James by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

There was a sloppiness, on both sides of the court, a selfishness in attack and a lack of efficiency throughout, but particularly in the first half, which almost cost Monaco dearly.

Kevin Durant in Monaco

Obradovic’s men trailed by seven points after the first quarter, but clawed their way back into the game in the second, before taking the lead early in the third, largely thanks to Jordan Loyd’s (19 points) efficiency outside the key.

However, Marcus Keene (22 points) immediately responded, allowing Strasbourg to go into the final quarter with a slender advantage (63-64).

kevin durant roca team
Photo of Kevin Durant by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

With the result on the line, Monaco stepped on the accelerator, stretching into a 10-point lead midway through the quarter, but there was a lethargy at times, and in front of Phoenix Suns player Durant, who was in attendance to watch close friend, Mike James (nine points), Strasbourg were handed another route back into the tie.

“We need to wake up”

Strasbourg’s indiscipline got the better of them ultimately. They gave away too many free throws (37) and the game got away from them in the final minutes. Whilst Strasbourg manager Luca Banchi was left bemoaning a refereeing performance, which according to him “lacked respect”, for Monaco, this game served as a warning.

“We need to wake up,” said Okobo, who won the Betclic Elite title with Lyon-Villeurbanne last season.

“They were 100% ready to play. We have to find the energy. It’s do or die. In the first game, there are no favourites and Strasbourg have nothing to lose. They gave us a really hard time. We’ve had better quality wins for sure,” echoed Obradovic.

Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Despite the performance, Monaco are now just one win away from the Betclic Elite semi-finals. The Roca Team travel to Strasbourg on Friday, and in the case of a defeat, both teams will return for a decider back in the Principality on Sunday.


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Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Artificial Intelligence a hot topic at YPO’s ‘Future of Film’ event in Cannes

A ‘Future of Film’ event held in Cannes by the Monaco and French Riviera Chapters of the Young President’s Organisation (YPO) drew big names who spoke of what’s new in cinema, enduring trends, and the reality of technology.

Cinema touches people. Its enduring effects have left indelible marks on many, whether it is recalling a funny line from a favourite comedy or remembering a scene from a film that became a life-changing moment.

On 20th May during the Cannes Film Festival, the Monaco and French Riviera Chapters of the Young President’s Organisation (YPO), alongside YPO Sports and Entertainment Industry Network, hosted an event titled ‘The Future of Film’. It explored the impact of cinema on the world, as well as the resilience and flexibility of the film community.

It was held at the stunning private home of one of the YPO Monaco chapter members. Amongst the guests were Colin Burrows, producer of Cannes Uncut, a love letter to the Cannes Film Festival, BBC World News and CNN correspondent Sandro Monetti, who enchanted the audience with his latest film news straight from Hollywood, and actress and producer Valentina Castellani-Quinn, who gave a speech about films, social impact and change.

“Film conveys a message through visuals and emotions… people tend to believe in people before corporations, political parties, and organisations. It is at the human level that we connect the most,” said Valentina Castellani-Quinn.

The night was certainly glamorous, with opulent sea views, delicious canapes and an exquisite dinner, but it also had a serious side. The panel discussion featured industry insiders from behind and in front of the camera who spoke of where the industry is heading as well as the advances being made that will ensure the survival of cinema.

“Can you possibly envision AI writing Good Will Hunting?”

One interesting topic that came up was the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in film, and the worries surrounding this technology.

Said Castellani-Quinn during her talk, “Many are concerned of AI replacing human intelligence, but can you imagine AI writing The Old Man and the Sea? Can you possibly envision AI writing Good Will Hunting? The truth is that now more than ever our human consciousness, our evolved awareness, can play a crucial role in society through storytelling and film making.

“Emotional intelligence is the most valued tool in a changing, fragile society that desperately needs the re-asserting of ethical values and human connection. Storytelling – a film – can inspire and educate humanity, reminding and renewing the awareness of who we really are and where we come from.”

All-in-all, the evening was considered a great success. Even rain couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of attendees. As the popular phrase goes, the show must go on, and in Cannes, it did indeed.


Photo from left to right: Colin Burrows, Francis Hellyer, Valentina Castellani-Quinn, Sandro Monetti.


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