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Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 at 3:31 pm  |  28 responses

Links: Q&A with Tony Parker

On the future of the Spurs, the World Cup and…selling cheese?

by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

Summer in New York City is always a fun time, because we here at SLAM get random calls about NBA players in town to promote random products or take part in one-off events. Yesterday, my main man Tony Parker was in town to take part in an event for Gillette, which he explained quite neatly, as you’ll see shortly. So last night I sat down with Tony in a basement lounge at the Hudson Hotel before the big Gillette event.

As I sat down, I mentioned something about the NBA Finals…

TONY: Wait, what’s your team?

LANG: The Hawks. I’m from Atlanta originally.

So the Hawks are your team? Oh, so you don’t want Joe Johnson to leave.

No!

(laughs) If he refused 15 million last year, I think somebody else might give him more.

tonychampsWho? I’m recording by the way, so you’re on the record.

I just think somebody will give it to him. I don’t know who, but somebody might.

So what’s up with you guys, the Spurs? Are you coming off the bench next year? Are you a bench player now?

(laughs) I’m a bench player now! (laughs) No, all my meetings went well, with Pop, with RC. Hopefully we’ll make some tweaks and get better and try to improve our team, because I think next year, realistically, is our last chance to try and make a run at a championship. Timmy’s getting older and he’s the anchor of our team, so I think realistically it’s our last chance with our core, with our team.

So you think Timmy’s got one year left in him?

No, he’s going to play two more years, but I think realistically, to go after a championship, I think it’s our last chance, like a realistic chance. Everybody says they want to win a championship, but it’s only 4 or 5 teams that can really win a championship, and I think next year is going to be our last chance.

I thought you guys had a good shot this year.

We were looking good, and then Phoenix just came out blazing on us.

Yeah, but then the Lakers handled them pretty well.

In basketball it all changes. We beat Phoenix for four or five years in the Playoffs, but at some point they had to beat us. Let’s give them credit, they played great against us.

Are you tired of people asking you what LeBron’s going to do?

(laughs) Yeah, people ask me. But no one knows.

I don’t think he knows.

Yeah, I agree with that. I don’t think he knows. I think he’s still weighing the pros and cons and figuring out what he’s going to do.

People have mentioned you being trade bait. So what about your future?

Me, hopefully I’ll be in San Antonio next year and then we’ll see what happens.

You said that really politely.

Yes, very politely (laughs).

Have you been watching the World Cup?

Of course, of course. I’ve been talking to Thierry (Henry) every day, getting my inside updates.

Are you going to come to a Red Bulls game?

For sure, for sure, I want to come see him play. I know they have a brand new stadium, and I heard it’s super nice.

It’s funny though because in America, a really nice soccer stadium is like 10,000 seats.

It’s going to be weird for Thierry, because he played in Barcelona, and there they have 100,000 seats.

So…why would somebody ask you, a guy who always has whiskers, to promote a razor?

Actually, I’m here to be a judge for the Gillette Fusion Pro-Glide Ultimate Summer Job Contest.

Wow, you nailed that. So what is it?

Basically, I’m going to judge some kids who have a chance to win $50,000 and they’re going to go across the states all summer and get people to try the new product. It’s pretty awesome because I never had a summer job like that. That’s pretty nice.

What was the best summer job you ever had?

Actually, I never really had one, because I’ve been playing with the National Team since I was 14, and I started playing professionally when I was 15. So summer we were playing, in the European Championships or the World Championships for the younger ages. So I never really had a summer job. But it’s pretty amazing to see these kids. I was watching the tapes this morning and they were funny, so I’m looking forward to seeing them live. You know, usually I’m the competitor, being judged, and now I’m the judge.

Are you going to be like Simon Cowell?

No, I’ll be more nice. (laughs) We’ll see, as long as they make me laugh, bring the passion for the product, have good teamwork, they’ll get my vote.

What’s the best job you’ve ever had besides basketball?

Besides basketball? Basketball. (laughs)

Have you ever had a job besides basketball?

Husband to Eva Longoria. (laughs)

That’s not a job, that’s something you do out of love.

That’s a full-time job, that’s a full-time job. (laughs)

So you’ve never had a job outside of basketball?

Actually, you know, when I was 12 and 13, I went to work at the market and sell cheese because my Mom was doing that. (laughs) I did it for like two weeks.

Were you good at it?

You just stand there, ask the lady what she wants, slice the cheese and give it to her. That was my job at the market. I did that for two weeks. It just came back to me.

You had blocked it out.

Right. (laughs) I didn’t want people to know it.

So what are you going to do the rest of the summer? You’re not playing for France in the World Championships, right?

No, not going to the World Championships. I’m just going to chill, and starting in July I’m going to get in shape, and really, really work hard, like I never did before, because the last six summers I was always playing with the National Team, so I never had a chance to work on my game. This summer I really want to work on my body and make sure I can play all 82 games and come out blazing next year. Plus it’s the last year on my contract, so I want to play good.

Who do you think has the best chance in the World Championships?

That’s a tough question because it depends who goes. Who’s going to go for the USA? Spain, Gasol said he’s not coming, and Manu’s not going to play for Argentina. So I don’t know…maybe Greece? It depends who Greece brings, you know? Our team’s going to be pretty talented, too, they’ll still have Boris and Rodrique Beaubois and Nicolas Batum. And I don’t know if Joakim’s going.

And how about a World Cup prediction?

Argentina or Spain, that’s my prediction.

Not Brazil?

No.

Why not?

They’re good, but…I think Argentina or Spain.

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  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    “My main man, Tony Parker” ? OK, Ahmad. Anyways, TP Always comes off as like, one of the most down to earth dudes in the L. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. Pretty refreshing.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Enigmatic: You’re my main man, too. Everyone’s my main man.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Bringing back memories of selling cheese at the market… tout francais!

  • AlbZ

    Definitely a cool guy. Hope he stays healthy and will be back in shape next season.

  • http://www.twitter.com/gerardhimself Gerard Himself

    What about Joe Johnson if he leaves, Lang?

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    VERY interested to see what rc and pop do over the summer. Haywood or ghostface would be nice. Sign n trade rj for rudy gay would be the siht

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Fromage Flashback

  • LB

    So the only job he’s ever had was being a basketball player, and the only side job he has is being “husband to Eva Longoria.” If only the rest of us were as charmed hahaha

  • http://www.nbaballhog.wordpress.com God in Basketball Shoes

    Tony is a classy guy who has an amazing life. He gets paid millions to play a game, is married to a beautiful celebrity who also makes millions and chats to people like Thierry regularly. The amazing thing is how down to earth he comes across even with a life most would kill for. Stay classy Tony.

  • http://www.nbaballhog.wordpress.com God in Basketball Shoes

    Oh, and Lang seems to have a pretty sweet life as well, though I bet he would disagree with me when deadlines are looming. Thanks for the article Lang.

  • Ronald

    Too bad he isn’t as classy to the fans in real life. Still a stand up guy but not on the level of TD/Manu and most of the Spurs.

  • Ronald

    Oh, and I do sincerely wish Lang went back to the old school links. I’m sick of having to read Henry Abbot for his “links”.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Hard to believe Parker is only 28. He handled coming off the bench late this year very professionally, considering he’s not that far removed from his Finals MVP year. Hopefully he gets some proper rest this summer… probably not a coincidence guys like him, Manu and Yao who’ve been ridden hard by their national teams every summer the last few years have their bodies breaking down this past season.

  • http://www.nbaballhog.wordpress.com God in Basketball Shoes

    Ronald – Why is he not classy to his fans? He puts the team first, plays hard every night and gives back to the community. What more could you want as a fan?

  • nastierthanu

    Interseting to see more intertnational player not playing for the country during the summers. Now the rest of the world is truely starting to catch up to the U.S. The L aint no joke. 82 games plus the playoffs can’t be easy on ur body.

  • Agent 87

    Maybe you should consider this: 82 games is too much, it’s hard to perform for so much games in 7 months.
    By reducing it you can have better basketball quality AND everybody present during summer for international tournaments.
    Anyway get some rest Tony and be back stronger next year

  • Warren

    Red Bull Arena is 28,000. Still a fair amount, + a gem of a stadium I have to say.

    anyway, pretty cool about that Henry slip. Gotta get’em here already!

  • CheckYourFacts

    “It’s funny though because in America, a really nice soccer stadium is like 10,000 seats.”

    The author of this article is an uninformed idiot. MLS currently averages some 16,472 fans per game, with Seattle bringing in over 35000 per match. If you’re going to be a sports journalist, then check your facts. If not, you’re just a huge moron.

  • gkchump

    Hey Lang I’ve said a couple of things but I’ve never called you and idiot. Bit harsh there checkyourfacts..

    Nice article. TP seems like a nice guy and it’s interesting that he says he hasn’t been able to work on anything in the last few off seasons. He should come back next year strong.

  • hoodsnake

    Great interview but the world cup will come down to spain or brazil. Just like bball soccer is not a one man sport although Messi is otherworldly good.

  • hoodsnake

    Great interview but the world cup will come down to spain or brazil. Just like bball soccer is not a one man game although Messi is otherworldly good.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    @CheckYourFacts – Lang Whitaker is a well-respected sportswriter whose expertise lies in basketball. When he said that “10,000 seats” comment, it was in the middle of an interview with an NBA player. NBA! He wasn’t wriing a damn MLS article. And he just meant to say soccer stadiums here in the US are not as big as the ones in other countries. If you’re really that offended by what he said, take your @ss to MLS.com or something. This is SlamOnline, son. And Lang’s more than paid his dues in the sports journalism world, you’d know that if you would “checkyourfacts.”

  • NBAfan22

    I agree that “10,000 seat” line is way off the line. MLS has like 10 purpose-built stadiums with the smallest one being an 18,000 seater and the biggest one at 27,000. They do look like 10,000 seaters next to some of the stadiums in Europe though.

  • ShadiestBen

    lol at checkyourfacts questioning Lang. I was expecting a witty reply….

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Wait, I like MLS. Anyway…

  • Jim

    I hate to break this to you, but Red Bull Arena’s capacity (25,000+) is bigger than the Spurs’ AT & T Center’s capacity for basketball (a little over 18,000). Just saying. There isn’t a single MLS soccer-specific stadium with anything close to only 10,000 seats. They are all above 20,000.

  • http://google BENCE

    i would love to see my man TP9 playing in BIG APPLE……with LB james and amare S. this is the new hottes big 3 next year……i can not wait to see this guys playing together……go TP go…. if the spurs don’t need you…..well you don’t need them too…..if they want Ghill weLl he is nothing….where is Ghill vs SUNS….hes gone and even manu hes gone….so for you my man TP…..GooDbyE SpurS HeLLo NeW YoRk……!!!

  • http://google BENCE

    i would love to see my man TP9 playing in BIG APPLE……with LB james and amare S. this is the new hottes big 3 next year……i can not wait to see this guys playing together……go TP go…. if the spurs don’t need you…..well you don’t need them too…..if they want Ghill weLl he is nothing….where is Ghill vs SUNS….hes gone and even manu hes gone….so for you my man TP…..GooDbyE SpurS HeLLo NeW YoRk……!!!

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