The U.S. Olympic swim team is training in San Antonio, and last week was greeted by two kings of the town, Gregg Popovich and Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs.
The king of the Olympics, Michael Phelps, got some one-on-one time with the basketball legends, affording he and Parker, who will make his second Olympic appearance for France in Rio, the chance to discuss the athlete’s experience at the Games.
Having won four NBA titles, Parker gave Phelps some perspective as the swimmer embarks on his fifth and final Olympics.
“He said – and I thought this was really cool, I thought about it a lot last night – you don’t remember your first championship or Olympics, but the more you do, the harder it gets and the more you appreciate it,” Phelps said of Parker’s comments during a press conference. “I think that was really cool to listen to.”
If they had the time, Phelps said he could have listened to them for much longer.
“Pop’s awesome,” Phelps said with a smile. “I mean, he’s just so cool. I literally could have sat there and talked to him and Tony for hours…. Pop’s a straight shooter. I like people like that. There’s no B.S.; he just kind of gives it to you how it is.
“I think that’s something that is really special and I think it talks a lot about how good they are and how passionate they are. There’s a reason why [the Spurs are] always up there.”
Popovich has led the Spurs to five NBA championships since 1999.
MORE: Michael Phelps reflects on Olympic Trials, looks ahead to Rio (video)
The U.S. Olympic swim team is down in San Antonio this week for a training camp, and the athletes were afforded time with two of the most popular men in town: San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and his point guard, Tony Parker.
Popovich, who was an assistant coach for the 2004 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team and will take over as head coach of the program after the Rio Games, spoke to the swimmers… while wearing a “Vote for Pedro” T-shirt, which comes from the 2004 “Napoleon Dynamite” movie.
Parker, meanwhile, posed for pictures as he gears up to make his second Olympic appearance for France, which lost in the quarterfinals four years ago in London. He helped his squad qualify for Rio this past weekend.
Michael Phelps, Simone Manuel, Kelsi Worrell and the rest of the team were thrilled to meet the NBA legends.
MORE: Olympic Swimming Trials reveal where U.S. stands versus world
Tony Parker headlines five NBA players on France’s Olympic men’s basketball roster announced Wednesday.
The other four NBA players are fellow returning Olympians Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw and Olympic rookies Rudy Gobert and Joffrey Lauvergne.
French NBA players not on the Olympic roster include Joakim Noah, who hasn’t played for the national team since 2011, and Evan Fournier, who did not play in a last-chance qualifying tournament earlier this month.
Parker led France at the 2012 Olympics with 15.7 points per game. The French lost two games in London, to the gold medalist U.S. in group play and silver medalist Spain in the quarterfinals.
In September, Parker and France fell in the EuroBasket semifinals to Spain in a winner-goes-to-Rio game.
The defeat forced France to a last-chance, winner-take-all, six-team Olympic qualifying tournament in the Philippines earlier this month.
Parker guided France past Canada 83-74 in the final Sunday, scoring a game-high 26 points in Manila, including 15 in the last seven minutes to extend a five-point lead.
The full French roster:
Nicolas Batum — Charlotte Hornets
Nando De Colo
Boris Diaw — San Antonio Spurs
Rudy Gobert — Utah Jazz
Joffrey Lauvergne — Denver Nuggets
Tony Parker — San Antonio Spurs
MORE: Australia Olympic roster has 6 NBA players