As San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker made his debut for ASVEL-Villeurbanne last week, he was able to lead the team to victory by scoring 21 points.
And although it was a close game, Parker spoke about getting his first win as a member of the team, what it felt like to play in a game again, and why he feels very comfortable playing in France once again.
"It feels good to win! This is most important. It's true that I had not played for a month and I had to get used to my new teammates. But I think we (played) a very good first half. Then we got a little loose: it was a bad third quarter. But (in) the fourth (we started to get hot), we (made) the shots it takes to win the game. But there is still much to work. I'm here to have fun, help my teammates. If we win the games even better!
"The welcome was great. It's impressive, it is heartwarming all (the) support. It is a pleasure to return to Pro A (and) play (with) ASVEL. I am a competitor, it's clear that I will give the best of myself. I wanted to win for the team (for) Pierre Vincent, it was his first win in Pro A, I'm happy for him. Now there is still much work to do. "
Parker's temporary head coach Pierre Vincent said the arrival of Parker to the team will be an adjustment for the current players on the team because of the dynamics Parker brings to the game.
"The arrival of Tony shifted some players, automation is no longer the same. Tony needs to learn and all the other players (need to) assimilate to different positions. It takes a little time. We must (have) time, it will come. Tony is a great player, he can make a difference but also puts us in danger because it does not fully mastering the forms of the game is a lot of information. But we (had) a great match. When he is stronger, (we) will be dangerous ... for others! "
One of Parker's new teammates, Kim Tille also spoke about the leadership and motivation Parker brings to the team.
"It's really nice that Tony come play here in Lyon. (He's) a real leader, he pushes everyone to be better. He makes good passes, he runs well and plays the game. It really helped us tonight. (We must) learn to play better together. We started the game really hard (against) PASAGE (before) the break. And defensively, we made mistakes. It was important that we win this game tonight for our fans and for the rest of the season."
As the NBA lockout have finally began to make some semi-progress, Parker will remain with ASVEL to continue training and playing in games. His only constant reminder is to remain healthy. Parker is at home in front of all his family and friends, it's not a bad situation to be in even if it's the lockout.