San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker had a moment of clairvoyance before France’s EuroBasket title game against Lithuania.
After finally getting past Spain in an overtime win in the semifinal, a fatigued Parker issued a challenge to teammate Nicolas Batum, according to a story on ESPN.
"I did everything I could today to win the game," Parker told him. "But I'm going to be tired. I need you to be The Man in the final."
"So," said Batum, "I was ready to go, right from the start, to help the team."
Parker, who had led France throughout the tournament, was likely to get doubled heavily in the final game to limit his penetration, and he wasn’t going to let finally getting past Spain be enough to satisfy himself or his team.
The night before, the NBA All-Star had wandered up the corridor of the floor of the high-rise Ljubljana hotel that had been converted into Little France. He had been thinking about the 2011 final, when the Spanish ruthlessly crushed his hopes. It troubled him. He knocked on bedroom doors with a message to give.
"There's no way we're losing tomorrow," Parker said he told each of his comrades. "Two years ago, we were happy. This year, we want to win."
With the help of Batum and several other teammates, Parker, and Spurs teammate Boris Diaw, won gold convincingly for the first time since the U18 European Championships.
Parker still managed to score 12 points and was awarded EuroBasket MVP. Now that Parker has won EuroBasket gold and MVP, he’ll have to make more room in his trophy case. And starting next week, he’ll start working towards yet another trophy.