Currently in the country to play for France in the FIBA cup Olympic qualifiers which starts this week, Tony Parker admitted he is excited to see more of Manila. "It’s been a great experience so far. People are very friendly here and I’ve been enjoying my time and I can’t wait to check out more of the city because I had a bit of a jet lag the first two days. I’m here with my dad and my brother so we’ll definitely enjoy the city and have a good time,” he shared during his Peak footwear press conference held last July 3 at Sofitel Manila.
The San Antonio Spurs player met with the local press and gamely talked about what he had already announced was his last stint with the French National team and also the Olympics. "For me it’s my last one so I said since it’s my last time playing with the national team. I’ve been enjoying every moment and then having an unbelievable career with the French team and hopefully you know I could finish on a great note and qualify for Rio and finish the right way. Like I said it’s my last time so I’m enjoying every moment,” he admitted.
With his team seeded number one in the FIBA tourney, the Peak endorser said he is already used to feeling the pressure. "Yeah there’s always a lot of pressure since I’ve been with the national team so there’s no difference. We respect everybody. It’s going to be a tough tournament. A lot of great teams and we just have to take one game at a time and stay focused and try to go all the way,” he said.
Playing for his country’s national team and with one of the biggest sports organizations in the world has been a big blessing in Tony’s life. "It’s two different things you know. I don’t like to compare. I always say I have two families. During the year, I’m with my Spurs family. And during the summer I have my French team family. So it’s two different things but it different joy and I’ve been very successful with both of them and hopefully we can qualify for the Olympics and I can finish my French career the right way. It’s always hard you know it’s okay but I’ve been doing this for 16 years now,” he said.
With the recently concluded NBA championship title going to the Cleveland Cavaliers this year, Tony said he and the Spurs just have to work harder next season. But for now he is focused on his France’s first match against Team Philippines on Tuesday, July 5. "That’s the main thing. We have to qualify. That’s the most important thing. It was a great season with the Spurs we didn’t end up with a championship but we have to change real fast and re-focus with the national team and I do that every year. So now we have new goals, new challenges and it starts on Tuesday against the Philippines,” he explained.
After the Olympics, Tony said he wants to just focus on his NBA career. "Exactly. I want to play for another four or five years. I really enjoy playing with the Spurs It’s a great team, great organization and a great coach to take care of my body so that’s all I’ve got to say. In the NBA it’s tough only one team can win and so we know how hard it is to win a championship. I’ve been blessed with four championships. A lot of players they have zero (championships) so they want more and more. We have a great time and we’ll be back. We want to win a championship like always the same goal every year. So I trust our coach to improve our team and get better next year,” he said.
What advice can he give to younger basketball players? "Of course they have to stay positive and work hard and the NBA is a global game so anything can happen,” he added.