Translated from an interview with Le Figaro's Sport24.com on July 15, 2014
Le Figaro: Vincent Collet (the head coach of the senior men's national team) explained these past few weeks that you will have the right to a tailored program because of your journey through the playoffs with San Antonio...
Boris Diaw: Yes, I will rejoin the team in Pau (a city in France) from August 3 to August 8. I will go to Paris to undergo some medical tests at Insep (the French sporting institute), but I will not participate in the training at Rouen (another French city) (from July 27 to July 31). I will find my teammates in Pau.
LF: Did you ever think about resting this summer and not joining the French national team in France, like Tony Parker?
Boris Diaw: No, never. I will rest when I am retired! It all depends on each person's own philosophy. There are different ways of managing your career. The risk of injury is part of our profession. It can happen. The more we play, and the less we rest, the more we risk hurting ourselves. It's possible that my career will be shorter. I will, perhaps, have one or two fewer years than I otherwise would have had, if I had not played with the French national team for all these summers. But I prefer it this way. I would rather play with the national team and potentially lose the last year of my career, which we limp through a little bit anyway (smiles).
LF: What is the role of the captain of the national team during the season? Have you, for example, helped Vincent Collet recruit players?
Boris Diaw: No, there is a selection process for that. Everyone has their own job. For me, I try to follow what the other players are doing. Of course, I regularly see those that play in the United States. The others, I don't necessarily get to see them. I speak to some of them on the phone. It depends. But I try to follow what everyone is doing in their respective league.
LF: Despite the absences of Tony Parker and Joakim Noah, the French national team will, in any case, look great during the World Cup in Spain (from August 30 to September 14)...
Boris Diaw: Well yeah! It's the same team that is the defending European champion. Minus Tony. With some changes, some players that were hurt last year are with us now. Also the younger players, that are growing and will try to find their place on the team. That's good too. Already, us veterans are humble and they're kicking us in the butt (laughs). There is some renewal. It's normal. It's the French group that won the title of European champion last year. Of course, the twelve that were in Slovenia are the ones with a medal (laughs). But I haven't forgotten that it was a long process, over six years. This has been a reconstruction effort after the era of the team that won the silver medal in Sydney. We had to rebuild after that and this is the same group that progressed every year since then, which eventually beat Spain in official competition (editors note: in the semi-finals of Europe 2013). It's not always the same players, but the group as a whole has progressed. This is the French national team, the team that will go play in the World Cup, which earned its qualification. We don't blush in front of anyone. We are always confident in this team. It's important that this group of French players continues to progress. There is still more to win!
LF: You are approaching this World Cup with ambition. The goal being to get on the medal podium?
Boris Diaw: We are aiming for a medal. We're going (to the World Cup) for that (laughs). Otherwise, we're better off staying at home (laughs). Of course, it's certain that it will be difficult. I believe we need to avoid the United States until the finals, but there's also Spain and lots of other teams, young teams that are progressing. It will be hard. But we will have a team that is ready for it.
LF: Specifically, how will the French team get by without Tony Parker, most notably from an offensive point of view?
Boris Diaw: Ahaha, it will be hard (smiles). Jokes aside, it's obvious that he's our main offensive player. The scoring load will be shared differently. He's the central focus of our offense and we rely on him because he's one of the best leaders, one of the best offensive attackers in the world, and he has a playbook, a speediness in the pick-and-roll, etc. Now, we will rely on other players. It will be distributed in my opinion. Others will emerge and take responsibility. Those that have already been there will probably take on a little more. We will see in time. I don't have a crystal ball (laughs). But Tony's absence doesn't mean that we'll be short 20 points at the end of the game (smiles). The scoring load will be divided up differently.
LF: A number of players on the French national team are already waiting, somewhat impatiently, for EuroBasket in 2015, and the chance to defend France's title as European champion...
BorisDiaw: Yes. Already because we are the champions of Europe and we want to keep the title. It's really something special to have the chance to defend this trophy. And even more, we will make sure that it will be in France. (editor's note: Ukraine was forced to abandon EuroBasket 2015 and France is now one of the candidate countries to host the event)
LF: Will you be involved in France's bid to host the European championships?
BorisDiaw: I don't know what we can do there. I know that Tony will be involved and that the president (of the French basketball federation, Jean-Pierre Siutat) has already tapped him for that. They've already gone to see the Minister of Sport (Najat Vallaud-Belkacem). Beyond that, whatever they may ask of us, obviously we'll be here to help (laughs). We all dream about hosting the 2015 European Championship in France. That's clear. That would be a really good thing for our generation.
LF: Tony Parker has already announced that he will quit the national team in 2016. Will you set a date for yourself as well?
Boris Diaw: That's what he says for now (smiles). 2016 is far away (laughs). Seriously though, I'm not going to set a date for myself. We'll see when the moment arrives. The day you want to stop playing, you will know, I think (laughs). Do I want to quit today? No. That's for sure.