What comes to your mind when you hear the word “dinasty?”
Tony Parker: I know what you’re talking about. We’re going to try to be that. Of course we will. We are aware that the back-to-back is a difficult task, but I think we have the team to do it. I am 23, Manu is 28 and Timmy is 29. So if we can keep the core of our team together, we can win another two or three rings.
How do you feel about the moves the Spurs have made this summer?
TP: I think that the most important move made by our team was re-signing Robert Horry. It was also important to sign Oberto. Anyway, we have a very strong frontcourt right now. In the backcourt, there is Manu and me… Nick and Michael Finley will be very helpful. And Beno Udrih had a good year as a rookie although he didn’t play very well in the Finals.
We saw how angry Gregg Popovich got with him…
TP: Well… You know, Popovich is a tough coach – especially with the rookies. Gregg is a great one and I know Beno is going to improve this year. Brent Barry had to handle a lot of pressure last year and now will do better too.
What do you think about the moves of the other contenders?
TP: I think Phoenix has improved, but only in a way… Now they are stronger, but I am not sure if they are better. They are better on the defensive end, but I feel that they are a worse team on the offensive end. In Miami, they have signed a lot of stars. Maybe too many. Shaq, Wade, plus Antoine Walker and Jason Williams. Damon Jones was a good fit because he only shot threes. Now with Williams on board, the thing can go out of control. But who knows? Maybe I’m wrong. By the way, Detroit is still a very good team. I think the contenders are still the same.
What does it mean for you to play with France in the Eurobasket?
TP: This is a big thing for me. I’ve been playing for my country since I was 14. I have a lot of good memories, like the time when we won the Under 18 European Championship. I hope we can keep winning with the National Team this year!
You dream about the gold medal?
TP: My dream was to play in the NBA. Now that I’ve won another ring, I want to play in the All-Star. But for now, it’s all about France. I am willing to be involved with the French team. There are times when it’s hard to focus on something. For example, right now we have to play a lot of friendly games… At least Spain is a good place to stay. Better than Slovenia.
You return to the National Team two years later. How do you feel about it?
TP: Very happy. Really. Playing for France is very important for me. Right now, I’m a little bit tired. You have to consider that I’ve played 110 games with the San Antonio Spurs this season… So with this friendly games, my goal is just to feel ready and 100 percent when the European Championship begins.
Did you find any problem with the Spurs because of your intention to play in the Eurobasket?
TP: The fact is I did. Gregg didn’t like it. Obviously he’s looking for the best for the franchise. But we spoke and I told him how important for me was to lead the National Team to the World Championship. In my career, I want to play the World Championship and the Olympic Games at least once each. As for the medals, I think the favorites in this tournament are Serbia and Lithuania.
Orlando’s first-round pick Fran Vazquez chose to remain in Europe instead of going to the NBA. What do you think about that?
TP: That’s his call. Maybe playing in the NBA wasn’t his dream. For most players playing there is the biggest thing. But, well, maybe Fran feels great in Europe and wants to stay in Spain with his family and friends… I don’t know and I don’t think I should judge his decision. Personally, my dream was to play in the NBA. And after four years and two rings… What can I tell you? I feel so good.