Tony Parker has change of heart, will play for France in Olympic qualifiers


Tony Parker cannot resist the pull of playing for his country.

A week after indicating on a French radio show that he might not participate in qualifying for the Rio Olympics, or the Games themselves because of the impending birth of his son, the San Antonio Spurs star says he is all in.

Parker's wife, Axelle, is due to give birth to the couple's second child in late July - right between the July 5-10 Olympic qualifier in Manila and the start of the basketball competition in Rio on August 6.

After saying last week that the timing made it "complicated" for him to consider participating, Parker clarified his stance on Monday.

"We talked a lot with Axelle and we agreed. She knows how important it is to me," Parker told L'Equipe.

"And so yes, I'll be there for OQT [the Olympic qualifying tournament] and I will be in the Olympics if we qualify. I want to play for France."

France certainly could use Parker as they seek to progress from the six-team Philippines qualifier, which also includes a Canada team led by a strong NBA contingent. Only one of the two powers can make it through to Rio.

Parker averaged 15.7 points per game at the London Olympics four years ago, but France were eliminated by Spain in the quarterfinals.