Every week, fibaeurope.com collaborator Mark Woods talks to players with a single travel destination in mind this summer, Lithuania.
Next in the series is France small forward Mickael Gelabale.
Mark Woods writes on basketball for a number of British newspapers as well as broadcasting for the BBC and Sky Sports. He is also assistant editor of mvp247.com and can be found on Twitter @markbritball.
If NBA talent alone delivered trophies, France would have spent the past decade vying with Spain for supremacy within Europe and elsewhere, confident that its supreme performers could withstand anything thrown in their collective path.
The generation which claimed silver at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney was, they expected, to be followed by an even greater mix of dynamism and talent, filled with players who traversed the Atlantic to make their mark.
Anticipation did not match the ultimate reality. Only in EuroBasket 2005 did Les Bleus depart with a medal, coloured in bronze.
In Lithuania next month, the current stellar generation will huddle together for a tilt at glory. With London's Olympics exactly a year away, there is a sense that it must be now or never.
"It is disappointing for me," admits Mickael Gelabale, "because we were supposed to be on the podium at every tournament. You've seen Spain, how they always play together, how they keep the same team - (Juan Carlos) Navarro, Pau (Gasol)- they're always there. They play for their team-mates.
"We have a good generation with great players - Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum. And also the European-based players too. We have a great group but now it is down to us to play together and play well."
Parker, once the young prodigy but now one of the elder statesmen, is among those who have returned from a hiatus in the hope that this, finally, can be France's finest hour.
|Mickael Gelabale and the rest of his generation have had enough near misses. The charismatic forward wants to see this talented France side fulfilling its destiny in Lithuania|
The San Antonio Spurs point guard has seen two Olympics come and go from the outside.
To fulfil his remaining ambition, he has actively recruited and drawn others to the cause.
Injury permitting, Joakim Noah will at last make his debut for the country which once revelled in the accomplishments of his tennis playing father Yannick.
Mickael Pietrus will be absent due to knee surgery but preparations have proceeded regardless over the past two weeks in Pau.
"I hope Joakim comes soon," Gelabale, one of four survivors of 2005, states.
"But I also hope we can do something special in Lithuania because everyone is there. We know this is a great chance to qualify for the Olympics.
"For me, it would be a dream because everyone - Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, great players - go to the Olympic Games. After the NBA, it was my second dream. It's so important for any player's career to be there and experience it."
Gelabale, who spent last season with Asvel Villeurbanne, achieved his NBA ambitions during a two-year stint with Seattle which was curtailed by injury.
After a year of rehab, he returned to France to lead Cholet to a championship before moving to Lyon last term.
An adjustment is required, he admits, to live with the sheer pace of Parker and Les Bleus' North American contingent. There has been an acclimatisation process at training camp as the younger home-grown recruits, under the watchful eye of head coach Vincent Collet, prime their minds and bodies to the level above.
"It's both instant and time-consuming," says Gelabale,
"We have to understand that NBA play and European play is different. They're not the same thing so we have to try and bring them together."
It is an educational process, he adds. "They elevate themselves when they participate every day in practice. We've been together for two weeks now. You learn how to cope with what someone like Tony can do. It's a natural process. Being along side someone like him forces you to become better at what you can do."
He is already used to fighting to get noticed by standing out from the crowd. Gelabale grew up on the island of Guadeloupe, far from the mainland, where basketball was a sport shared between a small community of devotees.
They pushed each other. They reaped the rewards. Mickael Pietrus, his brother Florent, Rodrigue Beaubois, they all won a passage overseas to showcase their skills. But, says Gelabale, they never forget where it all started.
"We all tried to do something for Guadeloupe," he says. "It was a big thing. Everybody watches our games when we're playing for the national teams. My family all watches. It's a pride thing."
There will be one proud family member who will not witness Lithuania. Gelabale's father died of a heart attack last month, having seen so much of what his son accomplished on and off the court. Returning to action so soon, he concedes, has been difficult. There is more to life than simply basketball.
Having made the decision, he will now seek to honour his departed parent.
"My feelings now aren't so good because of my Dad," Gelabale states. "But it is very important for me to be in this team and to qualify for the Games."
Fate offers no guarantees. It is a chance, he knows, which might not come again.