Fabrice Gautier is one of the privileged few to have integrated the bubble where the NBA season takes place. The French osteopath has taken up residence since the end of July at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando (Florida) where the playoffs of the North American basketball league are taking place.
And for good reason, he was requested by Rudy Gobert, the pivot of the Utah Jazz, to provide him with physiotherapist and osteopathic care. “We are very few to access it. It’s a mix between the village of the Olympic Games and Club Med ”, compares the forties, deprived of contact with the outside as long as the team of his player remains qualified. Because, exceptionally, he works exclusively for the French basketball player in the bubble, in compliance with health rules. “A strategy that works, with no cases of Covid-19 identified”, he notes, even though he suffers from missing birthdays and family vacations. At the same time, his wife is on duty in their Beverly Hills office.
Word of mouth recognition
Since his expatriation to Los Angeles in 1999 for which he was supported and sponsored by Dr Maurice Levy (the “French Doctor” of Los Angeles), Fabrice Gautier has come a long way, adding the osteopath cap to his pedigree of physiotherapist. “The two disciplines are complementary, he argues. The osteopath makes the adjustments like the mechanic on a Formula 1 so that the body moves well. The physiotherapist will re-educate and teach how to use his body. ” A course all the more unique in that osteopathy, even though invented in the United States, is a practice neglected on American soil, for the benefit of chiropractors.
A dual skill that particularly appealed to the athletes who represent a large part of the clientele of this native of the Paris region. It all started when he met Ronny Turiaf, after a Lakers game, via Christophe Carmarans (at the time, correspondent for The team). Thanks to Turiaf, with whom he spends a lot of time, he will be alongside Tony Parker in 2005, whom he admires “state of mind”. And as with Fabrice Gautier, “everything is a story of meetings, friendship and word of mouth ”, Tony Parker recommends him to join the staff of the French basketball team, between 2009 and 2013. An experience “extraordinary” where the collective will lead them to the title of European champion. “We built a story to win”, likes to remember this big fan of Magic Johnson.
This springboard is decisive for his American career, which began with an Ikea table in his kitchen in Los Angeles. He will thus take care of the French women’s basketball team at the Olympic Games. And be sent a number of players. “It took 15 years, but now I work with different French and American athletes: hockey, baseball, even French football players who spend their summer in the city of angels.” Its secret: “common sense”. “A lot of franchises lack self-confidence, people. I bring a different sensitivity. ”
Sports and business dreams
Several basketball teams have tried to tear off the osteopath. “But I prefer to keep my independence, to work with different players” like Joakim Noah whom he admires “Exceptional human qualities”, Carmelo Anthony with whom he shares “A passion for Burgundy wines”, Boris Diaw, Evan Fournier or Rudy Gobert. “We write our stories together, and they allow me to travel.” A freedom temporarily short-circuited by the Covid-19 epidemic, Fabrice Gautier is now dedicated to Rudy Gobert.
This “new phase” has also started with the latter, tested positive for the coronavirus in March. “I had just seen him, so I spent 15 days in quarantine in my guest house” remembers the Frenchman. Then everything stopped. With his wife, they resume the activity of their firm on June 1, although it has always been considered an “essential business”. “We work a lot outside, we space the appointments between patients. And a lot of athletes that I see are tested. ”
While waiting for the sporting world to set off again, he embarked on an entrepreneurial adventure. Partner of the Waff brand, ergonomic cushions created in France, he is led to develop it on American soil. Besides this project, he still keeps the dream of winning a title with one of his players. “I’m a little American, he quips. There are a lot of goals I want to achieve. ”