By Dionysis Aravantinos / firstname.lastname@example.org
BEIJING – Evan Fournier and France managed to defeat Australia in the third-place game and for the second time, they captured the bronze medal in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The Orlando Magic star, however, wasn’t as thrilled as one would expect. He wanted more. “We feel like we could’ve done better,” says Fournier. “I’ll remember that game against Argentina for my whole life. That has to be a lesson. It’s for my career and for me as a person.”
When asked on if the bronze medal means more than beating Team USA, Fournier simply stated he doesn’t care for either one: “I don’t care about either, to be honest. We came here for gold. Not for bronze or to beat Team USA”. In FIBA tournaments, anything can happen according to Fournier. “When you look at the rosters, do I really feel the best two teams are Spain and Argentina? No, but they played better and won. That’s FIBA basketball. It’s just one game”.
Globally, there has been a lot of talk about Team USA’s absences, and the 32 players who withdrew their names from the preliminary roster. Fournier, 26 was critical of his competitors in the NBA: “It does [bother me]. To be honest, when you look at LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and all these guys… they came here already and won, so it’s fine. But for friends of mine like Tobias [Harris], I thought it was a great opportunity for him to see something different and compete. I think they don’t realize how beneficial this is for their career. It’s a great tournament, great basketball, super intense. I know you have to work on your game, but this is way better.”
And even though the 10 days of rest Fournier will have aren’t enough, he still is a competitor who loves playing the sport he loves: “That’s what you want as a competitor. Our careers last 10-12 years. You want to get everything you want these years”
Photo Credit: FIBA.Basketball