Frank Ntilikina spent the best part of the week taking in the sights around London in the build up to his team, the New York Knicks, taking on the Washington Wizards in the capital's O2 Arena — in what turned out to be one of London's most entertaining games ever.
The Belgium-born, France-raised 20-year-old point guard debuted Nike's new self-lacing basketball sneaker in the game that saw the Wizards narrowly beat the Knicks. Despite his team's loss, it not only felt good to be back playing closer to home, but also a lot of his friends and family who don't often get to see him play first hand anymore finally had the chance to raise the roof for him in person.
Frank was in NikeTown to check out the Swoosh's latest innovation in basketball footwear. The Nike Adapt BB picks up from where the self-lacing HyperAdapt 1.0 left off and is truly the fit of the future as it takes the Swoosh's power-lacing concept to the basketball court for the first time.
We spoke to Frank about the NBA London fixture, the new Nike Adapt BB and his ambitions for the rest of the season.
What do you think of the new Nike Adapt BB?
I’m really excited about the Nike Adapt BB. It’s crazy – it really is the future right there! The power-lacing technology, that’s a massive innovation. Creating something that offers such a customisable fit at the touch of a button, it’s super impressive! Nike have really shown again their power by building this shoe, and also their understanding of the needs of athletes like me.
It's the first self-lacing shoe to be worn by an athlete on court and gives you the "perfect fit" – how does it feel to play ball in?
The Nike Adapt BB is really comfortable on court, which is super impressive with the electronic technology. Nike have made a really good job of making it comfortable! I’ve had the chance to practice and trial it – myself and a bunch of other young athletes went to Portland and went through testing and feedback. We were all just really excited to see it and give it a go and were generally just so impressed with the level of comfort the Nike designers have achieved within the shoe.
The Nike Adapt BB is really comfortable on court, which is super impressive with the electronic technology.
You’re wearing Air Forces right now, what other Nike sneakers do you have in your rotation right now?
I love sneakers! I mix it up but right now i’m into the Jordan Lows. Then of course Air Force always – they are just a classic and can be worn by anyone with anything.
You came to London with the Knicks to take on the Wizards at the O2 arena, how much do you look forward to playing in Europe, and closer to home?
Playing at the O2 is an amazing moment for me and the team. Getting the chance to play in Europe in front of European fans is something I feel blessed to be doing. Also I had family and a lot of friends over from France to watch the game so getting to play in front of them also was an amazing feeling for me.
What are your ambitions for the rest of the season?
My ambitions for the rest of the season is to just get the most out of every experience and keep improving. Always trying to improve each and everyday - it’s really important to learn, and improve. That’s definitely my goal for the rest of the season.
It’s the French sport connection but we have definitely connected on a friendship level also, when we get the chance to see each other. Timothy is a real cool guy, Kylian too.
What music are you currently listening to? Do you listen to as much US rap as you do French rap?
I love music and it’s a big part of my life, I like to mix it up depending on my mood. French Rap, US Rap, Afro-trap, French Afro-trap. Depending on my mood.
You follow quite a few footballers on Instagram, Timothy Weah, Kylian Mbappé, Ousmane Dembélé to name a few – who are you good friends with, and how much do you follow football?
It’s the French sport connection but we have definitely connected on a friendship level also, when we get the chance to see each other. Timothy is a real cool guy, Kylian too. Most of the time we are all busy, during the season but off season we try and connect with each other and have a good time.
PSG recently dropped a collaboration with Jordan Brand, as someone who enjoys both basketball and football, what did you make of the two working together?
I loved it! It’s definitely something special for the fans, people that love Jordan and people that love PSG, now they have that chance to wear it both at the same time. When I heard about that I immediately was trying to do everything to get hold of it – to ge the shoe, the jersey! The jerseys are beautiful and the fact that Jordan is working with PSG is just amazing.