Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier: The formidable French connection tearing up men's basketball at Tokyo 2020

The two NBA stars continued in their quest to lift France to an Olympic basketball medal after their side cruised past the Czech Republic 97-77 in their second group stage match.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier’s "French connection" is proving to have stunning consequences in the men’s basketball tournament at Tokyo 2020.

Gobert, of the NBA side Utah Jazz, and Fournier of the Boston Celtics have so far led the charge for the men of France.

The side are now two wins from two after besting Team USA 83-76 on Sunday (25 July) and then overcoming a tight first quarter to down the Czech Republic 97-77 this evening (28 July).

Fournier, who stormed Les Bleus to victory against the U.S. to end their 25-game win streak on day one of the basketball competition, continued his same aggressive attacking style of play against the Czechs.

With eyes firmly fixed on finding basket, Fournier led scoring against the U.S. with 28 points. A similar stats scene was seen against the Czechs. After the second quarter, Fournier was the game’s leading point scorer with 16 points. The shooting guard then grew that tally by a further five to finish the game on 21 points.

And if one flying Frenchman wasn’t enough, right behind Fournier supporting his efforts all the way, was the giant Gobert.

Gobert came in second on points behind Fournier in the game against the U.S., personally adding 14 points, nine rebounds for France. The 2.16m center replicated that same form against the side from the Czech Republic, stealing seven defensive rebounds and snatching three on offence.

With the Republic of Iran the last team left to play in the preliminary rounds France look to be in a strong position to go through to the quarterfinals as group winners. For the schedule see here.

Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier: fiery friends that share a close bond

It is hardly a surprise that Gobert and Fournier are lighting the way for France.

The two share an intimate friendship that dates to when they were both just 12 years old. Once upon a time the duo were shooting guards playing at the Institute of Sports Expertise and Performance (INSEP) in the suburbs of Paris. Now they are two big names in America's NBA.

“We were both shooting guards at the same when we were like 13 or 14,” Fournier told NBA.com. “Then, one summer he came back and he was like 6-10, his voice had changed, and he was a man. It was hard to recognise him. Seriously, it was incredible.”

When it comes to their friendship, the duo rarely tends to talk basketball.

That, however, doesn’t mean they aren’t prepared to call each other out when it comes to the game.

When three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Gobert became an All-Star for the first time in 2020, Fournier shared on social media something of a humbling photo of the star from when he was a teen, with a tongue-and-cheek message.

A reminder never to forget the journey you've been on and those that have been with you on the way.

How to watch Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier in action at Tokyo 2020

To find out how to watch the French basketball team in action and see how the winning side continues to progress at Tokyo 2020 click here.

Alternatively you can catch all the action from the basketball and more from the Games on our live blog here.