As reports surfaced yesterday about the possibility of Tony Parker playing China, the San Antonio Spurs point guard stated definitively that he will play in his native France should he play anywhere other than the NBA this season.
Speaking to ESPN.com after leading the French national team to an exhibition victory over host Great Britain in a six-nation tournament serving as a test event for the 2012 London Olympics, Parker shot down the idea of playing in China in the event that the ongoing NBA lockout cuts into the 2011-12 schedule.
“My agent talked about China a little bit,” Parker said after totaling 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists in France’s 82-60 victory. “But for me I just want to focus on the national team, that’s most important for me.”
“I’m not going to take any decision until the end of September, after the European Championships. I want to see if I’m healthy, if I’m hurt and by then we will also know a lot more what is happening with the situation of the lockout.”
“If I play (abroad), I will definitely play in France, for my fans, for my team, ASVEL.”
Parker is one of six NBA players on his national team’s roster, making France one of the favorites in the upcoming EuroBasket tournament in Lithuania from Aug. 31-Sept. 18.
Only the top two finishers at EuroBasket qualify outright for the 2012 London Olympics, with four more teams earning a berth in the last-chance qualifying tournament that will take place in July 2010.
Speaking about his lockout plans, Parker added: “For me, it’s more an emotional decision. It’s not enough for me just to play for the money, stuff like that, because I am a student of the game. I am passionate about the game. It would be great for my family, my friends, to see me in France.”
“I don’t want to close any doors and my agent has talked a little bit (to a team in China), but it looks like China is not going to happen for any players. We definitely had some talks, just nothing serious.”
Read the complete article on ESPN.