For many players the Olympics represent the final threshold, the final task necessary to complete a successful basketball career. Winning a medal is a remarkable achievement in itself and shouldn’t be taken away from anyone.
As the French team arrived in London yesterday after losing a taut, heavily contested two-point game against the Australians on Monday; their ultimate goal was finally in clear sight. There can’t be any excuses, as the team will need to up the ante to advance to the knockout stage.
Tony Parker and Boris Diaw, realizing the gravity of the tournament, are understandably “anxious” for their first game against top-ranked United States on Sunday.
“It’s there that the sensations are coming,” Parker said. “It’s nice. We worked hard for it. … We’ve waited 10 years to get here. It was the ultimate goal. The Games are what I missed. Living it with these guys is great; it’ll be forever in our hearts.”
Diaw is no stranger to NBA level intensity having playing in an emotionally taxing playoff battle against the Oklahoma City Thunder last season. But, even so, this experience is too much to handle; says Diaw, “It’s not often that one has it. We feel the excitement.”
French coach Vince Collet hopes their excitement will lead to improved play in London; Diaw and Parker have both struggled tremendously as of late. Parker has been weighed down by an eye injury and Diaw has just been inefficient.
Nando De Colo has carried the fort admirably, providing Les Bleus with a poor man’s version of Parker along with a couple of nifty moves reminiscent of Manu Ginobili.
But they won’t have any success if they don’t receive sufficient performances from Diaw and Parker. There isn’t any more time to rehabilitate or focus; their time is now and it’d be wise if they didn’t waste such a prime opportunity.