Olympics: NBA's Tony Parker says adieu to French team after 16 years

 France's point guard Tony Parker reacts during a Men's quarter-final basketball match between Spain and France at the Carioca Arena 1 in Rio de Janeiro on August 17.
France's point guard Tony Parker reacts during a Men's quarter-final basketball match between Spain and France at the Carioca Arena 1 in Rio de Janeiro on August 17.PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - National Basketball Association star Tony Parker bid an emotional farewell to the French national team after 16 years Wednesday after the team's 92-67 loss to Spain in the Rio Olympic quarter-finals.

The 34-year-old guard has joined the national team after deep NBA play-off runs with the San Antonio Spurs, wear and tear his body can no longer take and still be effective over the six-month league campaign.

"It was my last game," he said. "I'm not going to change my mind on that. It takes a toll."

Parker, who has won four NBA titles with the Spurs, exited Brazil without a medal but having achieved his goal of making France a champion, taking Most Valuable Player honours from his homeland's 2013 EuroBasket crown.

"I'm very proud of what we did," Parker said. "I enjoyed it. The last 16 years have been great. I don't regret one second.

"I take a lot of pride playing in this atmosphere. When we take some time to reflect on what we did, we can be proud."

It has been an off-season of goodbyes for Parker, who said farewell to Spurs big man Tim Duncan, whose retirement breaks up the Spurs' Big Three of Parker, Duncan and Manu Ginobili of Argentina.

"A lot of emotions. It's always tough when it finally happens," Parker said. "Those 15 years with Tim, all the success we had, I'm happy Manu has got one more year."

But the Spurs have a new big man in Spaniard Pau Gasol, who helped show Parker's French team to the Olympic exit. In fact, Parker never beat Gasol in international play.

"I beat him a lot in the NBA, so it evens out," Parker said with a smile. "I'm very happy to play with Pau. He's a good friend."

Spanish coach Sergio Scariolo was sad to see Parker depart the global scene.

"I've been honoured to coach against Tony Parker for so many years," he said. "He's an example for young players. We will enjoy him playing in San Antonio the next few years."

Parker is a six-time NBA All-Star who won NBA crowns with the Spurs in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014. He was the 2007 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.