Attending his first NBA game is always memorable. The arrival in the room, the possibility of seeing the stars in the flesh, the show staged at each time-out, everything you dreamed of is there, in front of you and everything seems incredible. Last Wednesday, during the clash between the Warriors and the Suns, Antonin, a 19-year-old Frenchman, had the chance to live this first NBA experience. Except that for him, we had rolled out the red carpet.
” I did the pre-game pitchside, with Richard Jefferson, who was commentating the game for ESPN, who came to shake my hand. After the match, I had access to the press conference, then we went through the media room, and I ran into Draymond too, it was incredible! he tells us. ” And the day after the game, I was invited to the radio station 95.7 The Game to appear on their morning show for 15 minutes with my disastrous accent. It’s really amazing, people seem so happy to meet me whereas I… never took it too seriously, so it was really a crazy experience! »
Just puts Draymond Green. That was fun. pic.twitter.com/blYcjCurIZ
— Antonin (@antonin_org) March 31, 2022
From creating a Twitter account in the front row of the Chase Center…
No, Antonin did not win a competition or take part in an organized trip such as the Jordan Tour. He simply deserved such a welcome. If you’re a Warriors fan and spend time on Twitter, his handle is sure to be familiar to you. If we are neither one nor the other, let’s lift the veil on his identity. Since 2019, Antonin has launched a twitter account to share compilations and statistics of Stephen Curry, his favorite player. Three years later, he has more than 55,000 subscribers, more than some local journalists who follow the team on a daily basis!
“I started in 2019, I think, one night after school,” he remembers. “It was supposed to be a ‘Stephen Curry Clutch Moments’ compilation, something quick and I shared that on Reddit Warriors, and Warriors France. They retweeted and thanks to that I must have had 500-600 likes. And I thought it was cool to share something that I like and that creates interactions with other fans. »
So in the final year, Antonin posts when he can and then the Covid-19 points the tip of his nose. The world stops and Antonin takes the opportunity to focus on his account.
“I had nothing else to do” he tells us. “But even in this period, you gain subscribers but it doesn’t seem too crazy because it’s a fairly linear evolution. In the end, since the start of confinement, I must have gained 50,000 followers on Twitter. Looking back, it’s amazing. »
It was this popularity that allowed him to attend his first NBA game as a VIP. Spotted by a local journalist from ESPN who wanted to write an article about him, Antonin tells him about his plans for his first trip to San Francisco, and the latter obtained accreditation for him to be able to live this unforgettable experience.
It is also thanks to other interactions with local journalists that Antonin’s account had exploded during confinement. He also explains to us how he experienced this pivotal moment.
“The first was Drew Shiller doing a post-game show (Warriors Outsiders), retweeting me and often quoting my tweets. I thought that was crazy because he’s an accredited journalist! » he recalls. “And afterwards, it went very quickly because a lot of other journalists started doing the same Grant Liffman (NBC Bay Area reporter), Mount Poole (“beat writer” from NBC Bay Area), Bonta Hill (presenter of pre- and post-match shows), a few days ago Marcus Thompson (columnist for The Athletic), who wrote the book on Stephen Curry. It all happened suddenly, at the start of confinement when I started posting regularly. Jim Barnett (former player and former analyst for NBC Bay Area) also, Bjelica this season. That’s when I said to myself: ‘Oh yeah, I’ve got something serious’. »
The origins of a phenomenon
Antonin, who is currently in his second year of communications college at Rennes 2, nevertheless fell into basketball a bit by chance.
“It really is 2013, by accident. My parents had taken BeIN Sports, and one morning I came across a replay of a Warriors playoff game against Denver and I loved it,” he says. “The atmosphere was incredible, Steph was crazy and that’s how I became a Steph fan, a Warriors fan, and an NBA fan when basketball didn’t interest me at all before. »
Antonin then took out a license to play basketball, but the idea of starting his Twitter account, and also his YouTube channel, was born of two essential elements: the pleasure of sharing his passion and an opportunity he seized without really wanting to.
“Actually, there weren’t too many other accounts doing what I was doing, which was posting compilations and stats on a regular basis. That’s why, I think, a lot of people have subscribed. But it’s a bit by accident too. One day I thought I was going to post this, and it worked well and so I continued, » he summarizes, before insisting. “But it’s still a pleasure above all. At no time do I force myself to post, it’s really when I feel like it. »
This idea of pleasure is central to the young Rennais, it is quite similar to that of his best player, Stephen Curry, and to the game identity of the Warriors.
The latter also say they are delighted with the success of Antonin. ” It’s great for us, it’s great for him, everyone benefits from it, one of the members of their communications team told us.
Stephen Curry now a subscriber
In the spans of the Chase Center, if many fans ask us to repeat his name, most know Antonin’s account but none seem to realize that the latter is the product of a Frenchman. An unsurprising reaction for the first concerned, but he adds however that even the French are surprised to learn who is behind his account.
” Everyone is actually surprised. The French say to themselves: “It’s weird, this guy only tweets in English, he has a big community in the US so he can’t be French”. And the Americans never imagine that it is a little Frenchman who is behind this account, he laughs. ” So everyone is really surprised, except Dub Nation France and Nico who manages the account who knew me from before. But otherwise everyone discovers little by little that I am French and it really surprises everyone because no one could imagine it. »
For several months, Antonin has seen many doors open thanks to the success of his account, but how does he see the rest?
“It opens up a lot of possibilities for me, that’s what I often tell myself. There, I am in college of Communications in Rennes 2 to do journalism, to be a community manager, etc. But I tell myself that my Twitter account and the YouTube channel that goes with it, are worth more than a communications license,” he asserts with full lucidity. “I would love to continue doing what I do, in connection with the Warriors if possible, so of course with more rigor and professionalism, but… that’s really what I’ve wanted to do since I was little. »
In the meantime, Antonin is enjoying his first trip to San Francisco. His smile is radiant, his simplicity contagious, and after the narrow loss to Phoenix, he was able to watch the Warriors win against the Jazz in a boiling Chase Center. And to top it off, a certain Stephen Curry became a subscriber to his Twitter account the same evening. What more ?
Stephen Curry just followed me.
— Antonin (@antonin_org) April 3, 2022
Interview in San Francisco.