Hall-of-Famer and French basketball legend Tony Parker didn’t mince his words when talking about France’s performance at the FIBA World Cup.
After back-to-back losses the French national team were eliminated from the tournament which came as a huge shock, considering they were ranked fifth by FIBA before the games began.
France have also been a European powerhouse of international basketball in recent years, since they won silver at the 2022 EuroBasket, silver at the 2020 Olympics and bronze at the 2019 World Cup.
Parker didn’t hide his disappointment of the team and even called their campaign a ‘fiasco’ and something that wasn’t ‘normal’.
“There, we really experienced a fiasco,” Parker said on RMC radio. “I talked about it for a long time with Nicolas Batum, we spoke for an hour on the phone, and it’s true that it’s very, very disappointing. It’s not normal for such a team to lose in the first round. We have never seen Spain and the United States go out in the first round. And it’s a shame because our generation worked so hard to bring France back to a certain level, so that we could be respected, by FIBA, the referees, the other countries. It’s so hard to have respect. Latvia had a great match. They had some crazy shots, but it’s not normal. It’s still a bit of a shame”.
It’s onto the next for France after their forgettable campaign.
The next just happens to be the 2024 Olympics in Paris and France has already automatically qualified as the host country of the games.
France’s saving grace could be to bring in the big guns.
But Parker thinks switching things up by bringing in star players like Joel Embiid and rising rookie Victor Wembanyama could upset the apple cart.
“They are going to have big choices to make,” Parker said. “If you bring back big players like Joel Embiid, and Victor, it has to be complementary with the rest, because it could mean the departure of certain cornerstones, which can make headlines. We have to improve the team, we need changes, but it’s not going to be easy.”
No doubt Parker is referring to ‘certain cornerstones’ like center Rudy Gobert – who would become almost redundant with the addition of Wemby and Philly center Embiid.
It will be interesting to see what France’s lineup will look like come next Summer in Paris.