San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker is one of the most accomplished players of his generation but there is one dream he’s still looking to live out – leading France to the Olympic Games.
However, he has yet to feature in the Olympic Basketball Tournament and is out to set that right with France by attempting to qualify for next summer’s Games through EuroBasket.
The 29-year-old point guard is in London for the Olympic Test Event where he is getting a glimpse of what will be in store in 2012.
Parker took some time out of his busy schedule and talked to FIBA. Here’s a part of the interview.
FIBA: What do you make of London a year before the Olympic Games?
Parker: I think it’s great. I can see the excitement in people’s faces. Everybody is happy. London is going to be a great host so hopefully we can qualify and come back next year.
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: Can you tell us how your preparations for EuroBasket are going?
Parker: We’re doing pretty good. We’re still working on some stuff and trying to prepare for the European Championship. We’re winning, we’re 3-0 (at the Olympic Test Event) but we know we have a lot of work to do.
FIBA: How is the level of competition this week?
Parker: It’s a good test. Croatia is going to be a good game on Saturday and Serbia the last one is going to be great for us. That’s what you want in preparation – you want some good games to try to improve and work on the stuff you want to improve.
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: What are your favourite Olympic memories? What moments do you remember most?
Parker: I remember France winning the silver medal in Sydney. I remember the United States winning against us. And then 2008, the final was really nice.
FIBA: With EuroBasket featuring 24 teams, is it an even greater achievement to qualify for the Olympic Games now than before?
Parker: Yeah definitely. Maybe one day they can put more teams in the Olympics (laughs).
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.
Read the complete interview on FIBA.com