We’ve been hearing a lot from Tony Parker lately. If you watched the San Antonio Spurs’ game against the Lakers the other night, you saw him mic’d up, giving some insight into what he’s really like on the floor. I was kind of surprised that he showed a lot of personality out there and looked like he was having a good time. I really enjoyed it.
He also recently did an interview with Slam Online. He talks about his relationship with head coach Gregg Popovich and with his teammates, his leadership on the court and his own sports talk show in France, among other things. He also talked about how the Spurs never really get any big media attention.
“No, I’m used to it,” says Tony. “It’s always been like that in San Antonio; we’ve always been under the radar. I was surprised that you asked for an interview. I was laughing with my PR guy. I was like, “What? They want to do a story on the San Antonio Spurs?” I was laughing. It doesn’t really bother me; I’m used to it.”
When he talked about his relationship with Coach Pop, he says Pop always pushed him the hardest when he was a 19-year-old kid just coming into the NBA. Now, Pop trusts him enough to call his own plays (most of the time) and their relationship has evolved into one with a lot of open communication. Tony clearly has a lot of respect for his coach, as most people do, and Pop feels the same way towards Tony.
TP also talked about his relationship with Tim and Manu, and how it’s always kind of been their team, but as they get older, Tony is assuming more of the team leader role.
It’s the best relationship with teammates I’ve ever had. Timmy and Manu, they’re so unselfish, and all we care about is winning. All three of us do a good job of not caring about our egos and only caring about the team and what’s best for the team.
I think it’s just changing naturally. It’s always been Timmy’s team, and Timmy’s always been our leader. Manu, too. I was always the young guy. As they get older, [the leadership roles are] changing naturally.
Timmy is more quiet. Me and Manu will scream a bit more. Manu will go a little more crazy. He’s always been the craziest one, but a good crazy. I’ll say I’m a mix of both.
Parker has a very realistic view of the Spurs’ chances for a championship. He knows if the team stays healthy and they play their best basketball, they have a legitimate shot at a title.
“Last year we dominated the regular season, and then Manu gets hurt the last game of the regular season and then missed the first game of the Playoffs, and then Timmy twisted his ankle one week before. So we just hobbled into the Playoffs, and we didn’t play our best basketball. I think for us, the whole key is that we have to be healthy. If we’re healthy, I like our chances. I still think Oklahoma City, Miami, Chicago—they’re the favorites. But I think we’re not too far from them.”
Tony also got into talking about his radio show in France a little bit. Apparently it’s the number 1 sports show in France. Tony just goes on for an hour once a week and talks to other sports stars like Kobe, David Beckham and former Spur David Robinson.
It’s a great interview, definitely worth a read. He ends it by saying he wants to stay in the NBA as long as Steve Nash or Jason Kidd. Since TP is only 29, that means he could be around for another decade!
I would like to do it like Steve Nash—I wanna play a long time. I love basketball. I’m very passionate about it; I’m very blessed and lucky every day. I want to play until I’m like 37, 38, like Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. I want to do the same thing.
I have been a Spurs fan for a long time after following the Houston Rockets in their championship years under Rudy Tomjonavich and the unsurpassed Hakeem Olajuwon. ( And the addition of Clyde "the Glide" Drexler didn't dissappoint either) When the Spurs had the foresight to get rid of Dennis Rodman, I became an unadulterated Spurs fan. Rodman was a great rebounder ...one of the best ever.....but what a character and a distraction. If Rodman had some element of "the team concept", he was masterful at keeping it hidden. I lost no tears when Dennis got the door ...but he could grab rebounds like he owned them.
Like Tomjonavch's and Olajuwon's quiet, unassuming but unmistakable leadership in Houston, David Robinson and Tim Duncan have simulated that with the Spurs under Greg Popavich and it has been an absolute joy to watch the success it has produced over the years.
One of the best things for me is watching over the last several years, the tremendous development of Tony Parker under Coach Pop's tutelage. Pop has pushed all the right buttons in that development. Early in Tony's career Popavich told him he could be outstanding if he worked hard ...very hard and followed his coach's directions. He did on both counts, and he has developed into the NBA super star he is today. But best of all he has done so with class, quietude and humility that's rare today in a top professional athlete. Thanks Tony from this fan.
Its amazing how the Spurs' organization has presented their fans with such a classy group of professional athletes.
Leo Durocher, I think it was, that said, "Nice guys finish last". If it was Leo, then he's wrong when it comes to the San Antonio Spurs ...those are nice guys and winners every year. The Spurs all typify what a "team" is all about and their success is shared with every member of that very fine team. Here's wishing another successful run through the playoffs Go Spurs!.