Basketball: No gold but plenty of golden moments for Parker

Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:46pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - There will be no golden end to Tony Parker's international career, nor silver or bronze either after France bowed out of the Olympic men's basketball tournament with a whimper on Wednesday falling 92-67 to Spain.

It was hardly a suitable goodbye for the man considered the greatest French player ever and widely regarded as one of the top point guards of all-time - from any country.

"For Tony Parker he is the best French player forever," declared France coach Vincent Collet. "He was the leader we needed for a long time and I told him that I regret a lot that he has a last game like that.

"Despite this game Tony remains fantastic for the French national team and for all his achievements we must tell him thank you."

For 16 years Parker has been the face of French basketball, inspiring a generation of young Frenchmen along the way, some of them, like the "Stifle Tower" Rudy Gobert, his team mate in Rio.

In understated French style, Parker walked into the press room and with no fanfare, fireworks or hyperbole confirmed the Olympic quarter-final was his last in a French jersey.

"It was my last game, I'm not going to change my mind on that," Parker assured reporters. "I've been playing with the national team for 16 years, every summer and it takes a toll the wear and tear.

"I told the Spurs that it was going to be my last summer because I want to finish my Spurs career on a good note, I want to play another five years."   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Quarterfinal - Men's Quarterfinal Spain v France - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/8/2016.  Tony Parker (FRA) of France reacts close to the end of the game. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton