Emrys Dadeke On Mentorship
Nicolas Batum’s basketball mentee talks about learning from the Jordan Brand family member, being “here for a reason” and the new Jordan x FFBB collection.
As much as basketball is about the pursuit of new innovation, from the latest footwork to the most groundbreaking technology, the sport still rewards those who learn from the icons who came before them. Like a family heirloom, basketball’s culture and wisdom are often passed on generationally.
Few know this better than Jordan Brand family member, Nicolas Batum, and one of his mentees, the teenaged prospect, Emrys Dadeke. Both Nicolas and Emrys grew up loving the game in the small, northwestern town of Pont-L’Eveque in France. They met at the annual basketball camp Nicolas hosts for youth athletes, Camp Batum, where Emrys stood out and was honored as one of the camp’s Most Valuable Players.
To most people, Nicolas is a multifaceted veteran forward who has played in the NBA for Portland and Charlotte before helping the Los Angeles Clippers make a deep run in the 2021 playoffs. In France, he is a member of multiple medal-winning national teams. At home in Pont-L’Eveque, and around the world, the Les Bleus legend is a mentor who gives hope to people from similar backgrounds.
Ahead of the release of the new Jordan Brand x FFBB collection, we caught up with Emrys to talk about his Pont-L’Eveque connection, the impact of Camp Batum and how we’re all here for a reason.
What did you think of Nicolas Batum while you were growing up in Pont-L’Eveque?
He’s a star in my town, and there are lots of young people who look up to him. Growing up, I was able to meet him a few times. He often came to Pont-L’Eveque in the summer and even organized a camp here. I met him a few times at the gym; he is super nice and very sociable. He has always been a role model for me and everyone else who plays basketball in Pont-L’Eveque. He hasn’t forgotten where he comes from.
How would you compare the basketball scene in Pont-L’Eveque to the basketball scene in Paris?
I’ve played in Paris and against Paris-based teams many times. The biggest difference is that Parisian basketball is played more aggressively. It’s also more technical because the players are very well-trained. In Pont-L’Eveque, we have more team spirit.
How did the Batum Camp help you develop as a player?
I took a lot of cues from Nicolas Batum growing up. His playing style has influenced me a lot. I would watch the way he played really closely and try out the same moves. I’m also very inspired by the way he behaves on the court, like when he motivates the other players as captain of the French team. I’d like to be like him. The Batum Camp helped me grow and see the game of basketball in new ways.
How did it feel to win MVP at the camp?
It felt great. I didn’t necessarily expect it, but it was a goal for me when I decided to take part in the camp. It was important for me to hear Nicolas Batum announce that I was the MVP. I was also super pleased to win a trip to the United States with him!
What was it like to travel to the U.S. with Nicolas Batum to see his life in the NBA?
It was great! Seeing his daily life was really interesting. I realized that the pace was more intense than I’d thought. The training sessions are very tough. They work so hard, day after day. And they have matches almost every day! It motivated me to work harder.
How else has Nicolas Batum influenced your approach to basketball? What kind of advice has he given you?
When we were in the U.S. together, we had time to talk, and he gave me a lot of advice. He told me to work hard and to not give up because it’s the only way to reach my goals. He’s shown me that you have to stay humble and never forget where you came from. His determination has influenced me a lot.
What are your immediate and long-term goals as a basketball player?
Currently, I am in the U15s. Next year, I will be in my second year of U15 in Caen, France. I would like to get into a training center and make it to the highest level in France. Eventually, I’d like to play in the NBA.
How important is it for you to play for the French national team?
I would love to play for the national team! For me, it is very important. It would be an honor to represent my country. It’s a big goal for me. I would also like to play internationally so I can meet teams from other countries.
What does the phrase “here for a reason” mean to you?
When you go out onto the court, you’re there for a reason; you show up to play. You’re there to win, to perform and to connect with the fans.
What do you like most in Jordan Brand’s new FFBB collection?
The shirt itself is my favorite!
What are your favorite Jordans?
I wear a lot of Jordans on the court and off the court. Right now, I really like the Air Jordan IV. I wear mine all the time! My favorite is the Air Jordan XI, but I don’t have a pair just yet. I really like the shape and the history.
The Jordan Brand x FFBB collection, part of the brand’s multi-year partnership, is now available from Jordan.com and select retailers.