Tony Parker: “We want the French team with Marine (Johannès)”

What flavor does this second French championship title have, four years after the previous one (2019)?
“This one is special. It is special because so much has happened between the two: in 2020 we were first. We were one game away from the Euroleague Final Four and we saw each other there. There was the 2021 semi-final (lost 73-77 against Basket Landes) which hurt us. This was the start of our descent. In 2022, there was then a return to reality with Bourges who had a very good final (3 victory to 0). We had to start from scratch. This year, we do two out of three (with the Eurocup) it’s huge. Champion of France, it’s strong. »

It is also your recruitment choices from last summer that are rewarded…
“Separating myself from Pierre Vincent last year was the hardest choice of my career as president. We must congratulate David Gautier who was able to find alchemy with all these individuals and these egos. And then he had Sandrine Gruda (he repeats her name several times). Amazing. She embodies our values. And we went to win this final without Gabby (Williams) who is one of our best players. »

“Marine is European and French champion and you want to do a Euro without her? It makes no sense “

What do you think of the controversy surrounding Marine Johannès, deprived of the French team ?
“It’s unfair what’s going on around her. She’s an amazing girl. She wants to play for the France team. She hasn’t missed an appointment since 2015. We want the France team with Marine. She is European and French champion and you want to do a Euro without her? It makes no sense. We boys could go back and forth to sign our contracts. It’s happened plenty of times. She wouldn’t even miss an official match. I love Toupane (the coach) and Siutat (Jean-Pierre, the president of the federation), but at some point…for five days…I tried to weigh in. She wants to play in the France team, it must be said. »

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