Tony Parker: Basketball, Championships & an Error in Judgment
Tony Parker is the son of a professional basketball player, and was made starting point guard for the San Antonio Spurs quite quickly after he was selected as the 28th overall pick in the draft. Certainly making a difference, Tony Parker was a big part of the reason why the Spurs won three NBA Championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Not only was basketball his ‘occupation,’ but Tony also became a music artist, releasing his first CD titled, TP. So far so good in Tony Parker’s world. He even had the luck of marrying a truly beautiful woman by the name of Eva Longoria in 2007, who is best known for her role on Desperate Housewives. Unfortunately, as with all ‘perfect lives’ and ‘good decisions,’ a bad one usually falls into the mix, and much to the shock of many men across the land, Tony Parker let Eva go, filing for divorce in 2010. Why, you ask? Well…it may just have been an ‘ego and libido’ issue that got in the way.
Tony Parker was born in Belgium and raised in France. Not a surprise to learn that Tony’s mother works as a Dutch model, seeing as how handsome Tony is. And his family is very close – having brothers who would all get together to watch their Dad’s basketball games. What many may not know is that Tony Parker was originally interested in the world of soccer, but the amazing success of Michael Jordan may have just been the reason he turned away from the white ball and focused on the orange. Tony’s height was a difficulty when he was younger when it came to the world of basketball, but the ability to go fast and jump high made him the perfect man to play that special point guard position.
After spending time in the French amateur leagues for two seasons, Parker began his professional career when he signed with Paris Basket Racing in 1999. Now a defunct French basketball team, PBR was once the basketball section of the Racing Club de Paris. It was the next year, 2000, when Parker was invited to participate in the Nike Hoop Summit, where in front of a huge number of professional scouts and coaches, he competed against a slew of future NBA players. His performance was outstanding and even brought about a recruiting war that included colleges like UCLA.
But Parker never saw the NCAA as part of his future, and ended up moving on and moving into the spotlight much quicker with the San Antonio Spurs. Having to prove himself on day one, Tony Parker was not what coaches or teams would call the tallest or the biggest – in fact, his power was hardly able to be seen at first. But soon, that amazing speed made the ‘size’ of Tony a non-subject. After all, if you’re that fast, it doesn’t matter how tall or how big the other guy is – you simply can’t catch the wind. Therefore the Spurs gambled on the young man from France, and Tony Parker became only the third French player to ever be on the court in an NBA game. That, of course, was not the only record he was going to go on to make.
The Spurs were uplifted by the new player, especially seeing as that Tony Parker could hit almost every open jump shot that he attempted. And by the end of his rookie season, he led San Antonio in assists and steals, and was named to the 2001-2002 All-Rookie First Team – yet another ‘first’ for a foreign-born guard.
Now, unfortunately, the Spurs fell during the playoffs that year, but Tony Parker was still being looked at and praised by everyone. And it only took until the following season for Tony to place that championship ring on his finger. That was the year where Tony became the Spurs’ playmaker extraordinaire, by putting forth his absolute best in all of the regular-season games. His statistics skyrocketed from points per game to rebounds to assists to those amazing jump shots that no one seemed to be able to defend against.
To be honest, this was not all sunshine and roses for the kid. The extremely harsh Spurs coach, Popovich, who many have criticized as being beyond hard on his players, made sure to ‘ride the back’ of Tony Parker and make him grow up as fast as possible, so that his play on the court became really good, really fast. So even though the Spurs took that first championship in 2003, there were a few rumors among the sports world that Parker was not exactly ‘long-term’ for San Antonio.
There are many fans who say that Parker’s Spurs’ career was full of ups and downs. One season he would be at the top of his game, and prove he was the playmaker by raising his stats to the highest of heights, yet then he would enter the playoffs and his performances would not be nearly as strong, and he would have to be replaced by others on the team who showed more consistency. BUT, the rings did come for the Spurs as they brought home the championship to San Antonio again in 2005 and 2007.
The Frenchman had a hard time as the years went by and the defensive players seemed to grow in size. Even his famous jump shot started to fall off, as well as his trademark dives to the hoop. New players were brought forth by the coach, while other freshman emerged from the pack and showed the world exactly what gifts they had to give, such as the Argentine star Ginóbili. But Tony wouldn’t go down without a fight. It was at the end of that second championship win that Tony reached his pinnacle, being selected for the first time in his career as an NBA All-Star. Which he received again in the 2007 banner year for the Spurs.
That year, Tony made sure to use his absolute speed and mid-range jump shot, as well as the bread and butter of the basketball court, the pick and roll (which is when a player sets a screen (pick) for a teammate handling the ball and then slips behind the defender (rolls) to accept a pass) – to go up against and win major match-ups against the best point guards of his generation. Parker and the Spurs swept the games in 2007 4-0 against the Cleveland Cavaliers to win their third championship ring – making Tony Parker a true star in the basketball world. He was also named the 2007 NBA Finals MVP for all his fantastic work.
With good decisions come bad ones, and Tony Parker definitely has had his share of those – especially bad decisions that hit the media like a storm cloud. Eva Longoria was the woman he (and many others) fell in love with, but Tony got the added extra of being able to walk down the aisle beside her. Eva loved basketball and sat courtside at a ton of Spurs’ games, being that she was a Texas native who lived in nearby Corpus Christie. Yes…they had a big ‘to-do,’ but as with all celebrities the tabloids started printing ‘those’ stories about Parker having an affair.
Now this is one of those rare cases where the celebrities fought back. Filing suit over these ridiculous lies, Longoria and Parker won the $20 million dollars and a retraction was printed almost immediately for the couple. Yet, only three years later, Eva did file for divorce from the ‘playmaker.’ And although “irreconcilable differences” was the statement on paper, it became widely read about that Parker was actually having an affair – with a former teammate’s wife. Apparently the first story may not have been true, but the second one supposedly was right on the money. And let’s face it…who on earth would cheat on Eva?
Perhaps sticking to the court is more along the lines of what Tony Parker should think about. In fact, he has shown the world that basketball is far more important than the money he gets from it. After all, he is now playing for ASVEL Villeurbanne, a team that he owns his own stake in. The $50 million dollar contracts are far behind, now that he receives only $2,000 a month for his time on the court, and he seems as happy as a clam about it.
Add in the French hip-hop album he created titled, TP, and it seems that Tony Parker has found his niche in the world. Will he will marry another celebrity? Well, that’s one of those things where we’ll just have to wait and see.