Au Revoir, Spurs
by John Robbins, spurs.com
SAN ANTONIO, TX (Sept. 29, 2006) -- As a whole, the Spurs haven’t been seen as a team since late May. Today, just over four months later, they assembled back in San Antonio for a media session before heading off to France to open training camp as a part of NBA Europe Live. First-year Spurs Matt Bonner, Francisco Elson, Jackie Butler, and Eric Williams, are excited to be in the Alamo City where the Larry O’Brien trophy has been a frequent visitor. There are also several familiar faces like Manu, Tim, Tony, Bruce, Fin, and Big Shot Rob who begin the season healthy and with more than a hint of redemption on their minds.
At media day, Spurs players hustled about from station to station where reporters peppered them with questions about how they spent their summer, how are they going to match-up with Dallas, and whether or not fans should preemptively make reservations along the Riverwalk for a June celebration. It may still be 90 degrees outside, but summer is long over. Their focus now turns to team building with Phase One beginning on the long plane ride from San Antonio, Texas to Tony Parker’s hometown of Lyon, France.
It’s not the first time the Spurs have set up camp in France, but Parker is just as excited about this opportunity as he was during the team’s 2003 training camp visit. “I’m just lucky that Pop loves wine! Every time the NBA asks him to go to France he says yes,” said the All-Star when guard when asked about returning to his home country. “It’s just great to play in front of my family and friends. It’s going to be good.” Parker is certain to be a busy Frenchman during his stay, with much of his free time already accounted for. “It’s going to be crazy. I’ve got a hectic schedule, you know, I’ve got a lot of appearances, a lot of stuff that always happens. I knew that when we went to camp over there I’d have a lot of stuff to do, but I’ll still find time to enjoy myself.”
If Parker needs any advice on making the most of his time management skills while abroad, he needn’t look any further than Tim Duncan. Duncan is no stranger to having a built-in homecoming meshed with training camp, as just last year the Spurs kicked off camp in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Duncan’s birthplace. “Going home, especially in his (Tony’s) case, and in mine, it’s not a hangout time because it’s training camp and we’re there to work and we’re having two-a-days. Whenever you can you’re trying to rest instead of going out to see people. So it’s tough, especially being in you hometown.”
Beyond Parker's return as the most favored son, the Spurs’ time in France gives them a chance to bond and develop a rapport with one another. With several new additions during the off-season, the team may discover that the best way to find that much ballyhooed ‘chemistry’ is in a land where English is not the first language. Manu Ginobili stressed the ‘team is everything’ aspect before boarding a Trans-Atlantic flight, “It’s important first because every training camp is very important for every team. But the fact of being out of the country altogether I think helps the bonding part of the team, so we’re going to spend a lot of time together, talk, and try to show the new guys the way we are and the way we do things.”
No word yet on if the Spurs will find themselves in Argentina this time next year.
"We would have two less championships here if it wasn't for Manu Ginobili," Popovich said. "In my book, Manu Ginobili is the stud of the world.
|Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)|