2007 NBA Finals MVP
"My priority is try to win a championship with the Spurs. Off the court I just let them say whatever they want. I'm used to it a little bit. When I go back to France it's crazy. Everywhere I go it's like a lot of people, paparazzi. So, you just stay with your bodyguard and go into private restaurants and stuff like that." Tony Parker
French professional basketball player with NBA's San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker helped the Spurs win three NBA Championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007. The 6' 1" starting point guard was selected as an NBA All-Star twice (2006; 2007) and was the 2007 NBA Finals MVP. He is also a member of France's national basketball team and was inducted into the French Legion of Honor with the rank of Chevalier in 2007.
Parker is the first ambassador for Make-A-Wish France and donated a block of 20 tickets for each home game to underprivileged youth. He is also branching out into music and plans to release a French hip-hop album.
One of “People Magazine's” “50 Most Beautiful People,” Parker has been married to “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria since July 2007.
Childhood and Family:
Born William Anthony Parker on May 17, 1982 in Brugge, Belgium, Tony Parker was raised in France. His African-American father, Tony Parker Sr., played basketball at Loyola University in Chicago and professionally overseas, while his mother, Pamela Firestone, was a Dutch model who now works as a health-food coach. Although Tony's parents divorced, they continue to remain influential in his life. His mother often gives him tips on healthy eating, while he discusses his performance after each game with his father over the phone. Tony's father and two younger brothers, T.J. and Pierre, are now living in Chicago and his mother currently lives in Paris.
In 1996, Tony, T.J., and Pierre visited Chicago and were invited to watch the Bulls practice. Tony shook hands with Scottie Pippen and had his picture taken with Michael Jordan. While Tony is in the NBA now, T.J. and Pierre are also involved in basketball. Tony also plays in the National French basket-ball team and was inducted into the French Legion of Honor with the rank of Chevalier in 2007.
In November 2004, Tony met actress Eva Longoria (born on March 15, 1975), a Texas native from Corpus Christi who is a courtside regular at Spurs home games. They became engaged on November 30, 2006, and wed on July 6, 2007, in a civil ceremony. They were married in a Roman Catholic ceremony on July 7, 2007, at the Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois Church in Paris, France.
A big fan of video games, Tony enjoys all of the sports games on PlayStation2. His favorite movie is “Face/Off” and his favorite music is rap.
Spurs' Point Guard
Initially interested in soccer, Tony Parker later turned to basketball after watching the success of Michael Jordan. He began building his skills and decided to play the point guard position after considering his relatively small size for a basketball player (6'2") and speed. He was discovered by a talent agent and attended the National Institute for Sports and Physical Education in Paris. He spent two seasons in the French minors before eventually turning professional. He signed with Paris Basket Racing in 1999.
When he was invited to compete in the basketball all-star game Nike Hoop Summit in Indianapolis in the summer of 2000, Parker demonstrated his skills against such future NBA players as Darius Miles, Zach Randolph and Omar Cook. Although he was asked to join UCLA and Georgia Tech, he decided to stay with Racing in the French championship for two years. He played for France's Junior National Team in the European Junior Championships in 1998 and 2000 and was elected Most Valuable Player of the 2000 tournament.
In 2001, Parker was drafted by NBA's San Antonio Spurs. As a rookie with the Spurs and the youngest player to play for the Spurs (he was 19 years old at the time), Parker went through many of the standard hazing rituals. One of his primary jobs was to bring a box of doughnuts to the arena for game-day shoot-arounds.
As a backup player to Antonio Daniels, Parker made 77 regular season appearances in his rookie season. One of the quickest NBA players, Parker brought a quick tempo to the game. He eventually led San Antonio in assists and steals by the end of the season and was named to the All-Rookie First Team for 2001–02.
Parker became San Antonio's starting point guard and playmaker in his sophomore season (2002-2003), where he won his first championship ring. In the post season (2003), he went on to record two career bests in scoring and earned his first NBA championship ring when his team beat the New Jersey Nets 4–2 in the finals.
After the Spurs were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semi-finals in the 2004 NBA Playoffs, Parker improved his regular season statistics during the 2004–05 seasons and ranked 13th in the league in total assists and placed third among point guards in field goal percentage. He later helped the Spurs win their third ever NBA championship by defeating the defending champion Detroit Pistons 4–3 in the 2005 NBA Finals.
In the 2005–06 seasons, Parker was selected as a NBA All-Star. Unfortunately, his team was eliminated in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks during the 2006 NBA Playoffs.
Next, Parker played reserve guard in the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. After finishing second in the Southwest Division, his team eliminated the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Semifinals and defeated the Utah Jazz 4–1 to win the Western Conference Finals. Parker and the Spurs eventually faced the Cleveland Cavaliers and swept them 4–0 to win the 2007 NBA Finals. Parker, who scored a series-high 24.5 points, accompanied by a high field goal percentage of 56.8% and of 57.1% from three point range, was named the 2007 NBA Finals MVP, becoming the first European-born player to receive the award.
“It's a nice reward for all the hard work I put in. I'm proud.” Tony Parker
Parker set a career-high for assists per game in the 2007–08 regular seasons. In the first round of the 2008 NBA Playoffs, the Spurs faced the Phoenix Suns, where Parker had an outstanding first round series, averaging nearly 30 points and 7 assists a game.
"We knew coming in to Phoenix that we can't allow us to have a bad start, so I took it upon myself to be very aggressive in the beginning to make sure we had a good start. It was a big game and we just learned from our past mistakes when we go 2-0 and don't play well on the road. I think we learned a lot from that and me, personally, from those series where I had two good games and then game three and game four I was not really aggressive. So I just wanted to be aggressive and see what happened." Tony Parker
In the next round, Parker and teammate Manu Ginobili both scored 31 points to lead the Spurs to a 110-99 victory over the New Orleans Hornets in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Meanwhile, back in his home country of France, Parker began playing with the National Senior Team in the 2001 European Championship. Since 2003, he has been the captain of the national team and led his team to win the bronze medal after defeating the Spanish team in the 2005 European Championship.
Parker is the first ambassador for Make-A-Wish France, a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. He also donated a block of 20 tickets for each home game to underprivileged youth.
"I already knew Make-A-Wish as it is very famous around the world and I have previously taken part in the granting of wishes by meeting children and their families. I decided to commit to working with Make-A-Wish France when I understood the true dedication there and I realized that I could help to grant as many wishes as possible." Tony Parker.
An avid fan of hip-hop music and rap, Parker plans to release a French hip-hop album. He released the single "Balance-toi" on March 26, 2007. Produced by Skalp, known from the famous French producer duo Kore & Skalp, the single has heavy rotation on French radio stations like NRJ and Skyrock. Parker and wife Eva Longoria will appear in the music video.
NBA Championship Finals MVP: 2007
European Player of the Year: 2007
NBA All-Star: 2006, 2007
NBA Champion (with the San Antonio Spurs): 2003, 2005, 2007
Bronze Medal at the 2005 European Championship
French Championship Rookie of the Year: 2001
European under-20 Champion: 2000
European under-20 MVP