The Olympic curtain closed for Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili on Wednesday in Rio, as the Spurs icons retired from international play in defeat. Parker’s French squad fell first, as Les Bleus looked unmotivated in a blowout loss to Pau Gasol and Team Spain.
“I felt like Spain was the Spurs and I was on the other side,” Parker told ESPN after the game. Parker has reportedly promised Coach Pop and Spurs president R.C. Buford that he is done with international ball and will focus solely on his NBA career.
Argentina’s Golden Generation was dealt a similar fate at the hands of Team USA, who delivered a resounding win on Ginobili’s home continent. Like Parker, Ginobili scored 14 points in his Olympic finale, yet was vividly more emotional before the spirited supporters of La Alma Argentina.
“I'm proudest of that: the longevity, the way we played the game, all the things we accomplished, the friendships and the camaraderie we created,” Ginobili told the Associated Press. “This year is the 20th year since my first game with the national team, so I'm very proud, and at the same time, I'm sad and happy because having an opportunity to play this game at 39, it's not something that happens often.”
Patty Mills and Australia continued their march to the medal round with a strong victory over Lithuania. Serbia awaits the Boomers in the semifinals, and a victory almost assuredly means a rematch with Team USA for the gold. Gasol and La Roja will have their say, but the U.S. remains the superior team in the tournament.
If Mills continues to scorch the nets in Rio, Australia has a puncher’s chance of capturing gold. The Boomers stood tall in their first contest against the Americans with a physical presence that initially knocked the U.S. off their game. Should the two lock horns for the gold medal as anticipated, expect sparks from Patty Mills.