Tony Parker just completed consecutive runs to the NBA Finals with the Spurs, and for the first time in a long time, decided to skip playing for the French national team at the FIBA World Championships this summer.
Like most international players, Parker always placed extreme importance on representing his country on the basketball court during the offseason, despite the fact that NBA teams would selfishly like their guys to rest instead of putting that extra mileage on their bodies.
Parker is aware of that fact, and said it played a role in his decision to sit this summer out.
Parker played a total of 27 games for France over the previous three summers, including last year’s championship at EuroBasket 2013 for his country’s first major title.
If that doesn’t sound like much, consider that Parker endured lengthy NBA playoff runs in each of the past three campaigns. Combined with his international duties, that adds up to a total of 91 extra games — nine more than a full NBA regular season — since his last summer break, a toll that appeared to catch up to Parker during an injury-plagued 2013-14. …
“Obviously it’s always tough to see my teammates start without me,” he said. “It feels like my second family is playing right now. But I have to be smart. I think it’s the right decision for me, for the Spurs if I want to play a long career. I want to play two more summers (with France) and then I’ll be done.
“I think for all those years, being with San Antonio, (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) has always been great with me and the national team. I felt like this was a summer I can give back to the Spurs.”
Manu Ginobili is also skipping international duties with Argentina this summer, but that wasn’t his decision. Because of a stress fracture he’s dealing with, along with the injury’s recovery time, the Spurs refused to grant Ginobili the required permission.
Ginobili may have been smart about it and ultimately decided on his own to get the much-needed rest — just as Parker did, after dealing with injuries off and on over the past two seasons.