San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker and France recently went undefeated in the London International Basketball Invitational held as an Olympic test tournament for the 2012 London games.
Now as the French National team gears up for the upcoming EuroBasket 2011, Parker spoke with FIBA.com as he discussed the Olympic games.
From the new Olympic arena to the tournament in Lithuania, Parker shared his thoughts as the Olympic games near.
FIBA: Any thoughts on the Olympic Basketball Arena?
Parker: I think it’s nice. I’m used to NBA arenas and this arena is going to be nice for the first round.
FIBA: What are your thoughts as you look ahead to EuroBasket in Lithuania?
Parker: I think that the European Championship is the toughest competition, it’s even harder than the World Championship or the Olympics. You have so many good teams that can pretend to finish in the top five.
FIBA: What do the Olympic Games mean to you?
Parker: It’s a dream for every player to try to play in the Olympics. Me personally I’ve never been so I’m definitely motivated to try and qualify France.
FIBA: You have accomplished just about everything on the court. Is making it to London a mission for you?
Parker: It’s the only thing that is missing in my career. I’ve won at every level, I’ve had success at every level and the only thing that is missing is the Olympics so I hope I can accomplish that.
FIBA: Where does this French team rank?
Parker: We have a talented team but like a lot of teams and so nothing is guaranteed. That’s why we play the competition. Hopefully we can do well.
FIBA: How do you see your role on the team now compared to five years ago?
Parker: Well now I’m a little bit older (laughs). So I have to try to help the young guys play better, improve fast and try to give them advice. And for myself, I try to do the same thing I’ve been doing.
Parker indeed has won many awards at every level – three time NBA champion, NBA All-Star, and even a rare NBA Finals MVP award. But like his teammate Tim Duncan, he’s yet to have that gold medal that can only be won every four years. Manu Ginobili has that elusive medal and Parker knows should France qualify at the EuroBasket, Ginobili and Argentina will become one of the team’s to beat in next year’s London games.