Parker playing for the Spurs.
|No. 9 - San Antonio Spurs|
|Date of birth: May 17, 1982|
|Place of birth: Bruges, Belgium|
|Height: 6 ft 2 in||Weight: 180 lbs|
|2001 for the San Antonio Spurs|
|NBA Draft: 2001; Round: 1 / Pick: 28th|
|Selected by the San Antonio Spurs|
|Career Highlights and Awards|
|Tony Parker at NBA.com|
William Anthony (Tony) Parker, II (born May 17, 1982) is a French professional basketball player who plays at Point Guard in the NBA for the San Antonio Spurs. Parker was born into a family which had, and continues to have, strong links with professional basketball. After playing for two years in the French basketball league, Parker entered the 2001 NBA Draft and was selected by the San Antonio Spurs. He quickly became their starting point guard, helping the Spurs win three NBA Championships. Parker has been selected as an NBA All-Star twice and was the 2007 NBA Finals MVP. He was married to Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria. Parker speaks French, English and Dutch fluently.
Parker was born in Bruges, Belgium, but raised in France. He is a French citizen. His father, Tony Parker Sr., an African-American, played basketball at Loyola University Chicago, as well as professionally overseas. His mother, Pamela Firestone, was a Dutch model. Parker enjoyed close relationships with his brothers and together they would often attend his father's basketball games. At first, Parker was more interested in soccer, but after watching the evolution of Michael Jordan into a global basketball superstar, he changed his mind.
Parker was surrounded by basketball. His two younger brothers, T.J. and Pierre, would go on to play basketball at professional and college levels, respectively. As he built his skill, his lack of size (notwithstanding a growth spurt at 15) decided his position on-court. He played the point guard position, recognizing that his speed and agility made this station ideal for him. He was eventually talent-spotted and asked to attend the National Institute for Sports and Physical Education in Paris. After playing in the French minors for two seasons, Parker turned professional and signed with Paris Basket Racing in 1999. He then played two years with Racing in the French championship before entering the 2001 NBA Draft.
San Antonio Spurs
Parker was drafted 28th overall in the 2001 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs. When Parker played against the Los Angeles Clippers on November 30, 2001, he became the third French player ever to play in an NBA game, after Tariq Abdul-Wahad and Jerome Moiso. Parker made a total of 77 appearances in his rookie season, averaging 9.2 points, 4.3 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 29.4 minutes per game. In recognition of his leading the Spurs in assists and steals, Parker was named to the All-Rookie First Team for 2001-02, becoming the first foreign-born guard to earn the honor.
Parker played in all 82 games for the Spurs in his sophomore season as their starting point guard in a largely remade team from previous years. He improved his regular season averages significantly, averaging 15.5 points per game, 5.3 assists per game and 2.6 rebounds per game. Parker's role as the team's playmaker was reflected in his leading the team in assists on 49 occasions. During the 2003 NBA All-Star Weekend, Parker represented the Sophomores in the Got Milk? Rookie Challenge, and also participated in the inaugural 989 Sports Skills Challenge. In the post season, Parker's scoring—including twice achieving his career best—was pivotal to the Spurs' progress to the 2003 NBA Finals. The Spurs, led by Tim Duncan, defeated the New Jersey Nets 4-2 in the series, and Parker earned his first NBA championship ring.
Parker maintained his statistical averages in the 2003-04 season with a regular season record of 14.7 ppg, 5.5 apg and 3.2 rpg. However, the Spurs were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semi-finals in the 2004 NBA Playoffs.
Nevertheless, with the combination of Tim Duncan's consistent performances, emergence of Argentinean star Manu Ginobili, and Parker as playmaker, the Spurs won their third ever NBA championship the next season when the Spurs defeated defending champions Detroit Pistons 4-3 in the 2005 NBA Finals. In the regular season, Parker again improved on his statistical averages, ending the season with career-highs 16.6 ppg, 6.1 apg and 3.7 rpg. Overall, he ranked 13th in the league in total assists and third among point guards in field goal percentage.
2005-06 and 2006-07
Parker was selected for the first time in his career an NBA All-Star for the 2005-06 season, as he managed a regular season career-high 18.9 ppg and a solid .548 in field goal percentage. His form propelled the Spurs to a 63-19 win-loss record and qualification for the 2006 NBA Playoffs. However, the Spurs were again unable to win back-to-back titles as they were eliminated in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks.
On February 14, 2007, after delivering consistent numbers in the first half of the 2006-07 season, Parker was again selected to play in the 2007 NBA All-Star Game as a reserve guard. With Parker operating as the starting point guard in the 2006-07 season, the Spurs qualified for the 2007 NBA Playoffs and finished second in the Southwest Division. They also defeated the Utah Jazz 4-1 to win the Western Conference Finals. Parker and the Spurs went on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers and swept them 4-0 to win the 2007 NBA Finals. For his performances, he was named the 2007 NBA Finals MVP.
French National Team
Parker played for France's Junior National Team in the European Junior Championships in both 1998 and 2000. He was elected Most Valuable Player of the 2000 tournament when France captured the championship. With the senior team, Parker has played in the 2001, 2003 and 2005 European Championships. France won the bronze medal in the 2005 Championships, defeating the Spanish team 98-68. The captain of the national team since 2003, Parker was slated to lead France in the 2006 FIBA World Championships, but was unable to play after breaking a finger when he caught his hand in the jersey of a Brazil player in France's final warmup for the Worlds.
Parker plays the point guard position and has established himself as a potent scorer. Voted by his peers in a 2007 poll as one of the quickest players in the NBA, he often slashes to the basket for a layup or teardrop shot. Despite his relatively small size for a basketball player (6'2"), he led the league in "points in the paint" for a large portion of the 2005-06 NBA season. As the Spurs enlisted the services of Chip Engelland, Grant Hill's former shooting coach and ex-Nuggets player development coach, Parker's shooting has improved significantly since his rookie year, including his outside shooting range (especially three-pointers). Parker's field goal percentage is high for a point guard, and his speed also makes him a fast break player. However, Parker's style of play has had adverse effects on his knees; he suffers from tendonitis.
- Individual honors for club
- NBA Championship Finals MVP - 2007
- NBA All-Star - 2006
- Member of the 2006 San Antonio All-Star Shooting Stars team. He sealed the victory by making the half-court shot on his first attempt, setting a All-Star Shooting Star record time of 25.1 seconds.
- NBA All-Star - 2007
- Clubs Honors
- NBA Champion - 2007
- NBA Champion - 2005
- NBA Champion - 2003
- French championship Rookie of the Year - 2001
- Senior National Team honors
- Bronze medal at the 2005 European Championship
- Junior National Team honors
- European under 20 Champion - 2000
Off The Court
Parker's parents continue to remain influential in his life even after their divorce. His mother, a health-food coach, gives him tips on healthy eating, while he discusses his performance after each game with his father over the phone.
Parker is currently married to actress Eva Longoria, who is seven years his senior. They announced their engagement on November 30, 2006. They were married in France on July 7, 2007. Parker was quoted during the 2007 NBA All-Star Game as saying that "Eva is doing everything, I'm just going to show up and say yes." Longoria, a Texas native from nearby Corpus Christi, is a courtside regular at Spurs home games.
In the field of philanthropy, Parker donates a block of 20 tickets for each home game to underprivileged youth. Parker is also the first ambassador for France's Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. On his personal website, Parker states: "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."
Parker is an avid fan of hip-hop music and rap. He has released a French hip-hop album with producer Polygrafic (Sound Scientists). The first single from the album, Top of the Game, featuring rappers Fabolous and Booba, was released in March 2007. The accompanying video features Spurs team mates Robert Horry, Tim Duncan and Brent Barry, as well as former team mate Nazr Mohammed.
Parker was also involved in the Paris bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. His reaction to London's successful bid was: "I don't know what else we could have done. If we don't have it now, I guess we will never get it. The IOC seems to be very pro-Anglo-Saxon. I feel extremely gutted."
- Parker and fellow French NBA star, Boris Diaw, are long-time friends and former roommates.
- Parker is also good friends with soccer player and Arsenal FC star Thierry Henry.