Quai54 was founded in Paris in 2003 by Hammadoun Sidibé and Thibaut de Longeville, who worked side by side to create one of the most famous basketball tournaments in the world. The first one – who was passionate about the culture of streetball after a trip to New York in 1991 – began to develop this idea with the construction of the Lavallois court. Together with Thibaut, who worked in the hip-hop marketing sector, they planted their roots and organized the first event in which 1,500 people attended.
The intention of the two was to combine the vibrations of the EBC Rucker Park tournament in New York to the French street culture, the result is the Quai54 that feeds on the energy that is created between stands and field going beyond the boundaries of basketball. For the first edition there was a word of mouth between fans and acquaintances, some improvised a barbecue, everything was spontaneous, including music, as if it were a family reunion on the occasion of the birthday of his uncle. Thibaut often worked in the big apple and often participated in the EBC was so that he came up with the idea of involving Fat Joe, Terror Squad and various music labels. In the next edition a 52-minute format was shot that went around the world – it was the turning point – everything else is history.
The parallelism between energy and culture of basketball and hip-hop between Paris and New York is super evident, they are much closer to the Americans than to the British. Quai 54 has been perceived from the beginning as a black thing, and I strongly disagree, the community is bigger than this. Even if entertainment revolves around this, it goes much further
From the first edition, Nike starts to keep an eye on the organization, also providing shirts for all players. Every year since 2003 the appointment is the last week of June, over the years has become larger and more popular, recording the presence of about 10,000 people. It can also count on the support and partnership of Jordan Brand which took place in 2006. The brand was far-sighted and realized that the event could become the best outdoor street ball gathering in the world and it helped them to become one. Each season, a line of sportswear apparel and models of Jordan X Quai54 branded sneakers are created.
This year the tournament will celebrate its 15th birthday and coincide with Paris Fashion Week, which makes it an even more attractive event in which you can not miss. What’s in store for us?
Text by Elisa Scotti