San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker on Tuesday backed off comments made to French journalists last month that San Antonio can no longer likely contend for another championship.
“You know newspapers need stories and to talk about stuff, and I’m in a great situation to know what it is,” Parker said. “I love the Spurs. I love being a Spur. I re-signed four years so if I didn’t believe we can win a championship I would not have signed.”
The former All-Star, however, didn’t exactly go out of his way to try to clarify the remarks made last month in Paris, a few weeks after the 61-win Spurs were upset in the first round by eighth-seeded Memphis.
An article on FIBA’s website quoted Parker as saying, “We will always have a good team but can no longer say we’re playing for a championship.” He added that it would be tough for the Spurs to regenerate themselves with Tim Duncan turning 36 next spring and Manu Ginobili turning 34 next month.
Parker is speaking French in the interview. A video of the interview, credited to the French sports daily L’Equipe, quotes Parker in English subtitles as saying, “It was sort of our last chance this season.”
Back in San Antonio on Tuesday, Parker brushed off the quotes, offering a vague explanation of French reporters getting carried away.
“I don’t have to justify anything,” Parker said. “Me, bottom line, I love being a Spur and that’s why I signed four more years. I have nothing to justify to you. The only thing I care about is (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich), Timmy and Manu, and my teammates.”
Parker has spent his entire NBA career with the Spurs, arriving in San Antonio at the age of 19 and winning the starting job that season. He turned 29 last month and begins a four-year, $50 million extension next season.
Parker was equally candid about San Antonio’s diminishing title hopes in training camp last October. He said then that he felt the upcoming season was the last chance for the Spurs to win a fifth championship in the Duncan era, again pointing toward the team’s aging core.
If this season was the Spurs’ last chance, they mostly spent it playing that way. They carried the league’s best record for practically the entire season and entered the playoffs with the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. But the youthful Grizzlies beat the Spurs in six games, making San Antonio just the fourth No. 1 seed to fall in the first round.
Parker averaged 17.5 points and 6.6 assists last season. He said no one within the Spurs contacted him after the interview in France was published.
“They know me, they don’t need to contact me,” Parker said. “Pop doesn’t have time right now. He’s drinking wine and having fun.”
What are your thoughts about Parker’s latest rebuttal? Tell us what you think Spurs fans.