After stating yesterday on his official website that he’d wait and see what San Antonio Spurs management said about his possible participation in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, Tony Parker later logged on to state that he will not be playing for Les Bleus at the Spurs’ behest. The decision, he said, is irrevocable.
“After a long discussion with Gregg Popovich, I know now that I won’t play for the World Championship. The Spurs told me that it would be best for me to focus on the club only. This season was wasted by injuries, they don’t want it to happen during my last year of contract.”
Despite Parker’s status as international icon — evidenced by his inclusion in the FIBA “Giant Get-Together” campaign — he has never actually participated for Team France at the World Championship level; this could well be a lone regret upon retirement. Said Parker:
“…they can’t say, ‘Tony, you stay here this summer, because we say so.’ But I heard the message. And above all, I understand. I’m disappointed because I’ve never played in the World Championship [due to a finger fracture in 2006]. But unlike in previous years, I am not in a strong position. I’m in my last year of contract with the Spurs, I have to think about my future.
“They signed Manu [Ginobili] for another three years. It’s now or never to win a title before Tim Duncan retires. They want zero risk for me. They’ve always been good to me since I got there. They’ve never prevented me from playing in the National Team. It’s the first time they don’t want me to go. I took my decision during the meeting.”