MANILA, Philippines – The tall man in a blue suit walked in, spoke in French to someone, then took his place in a table for officials from Peak, the Chinese active wear brand that was holding a press conference at Davao Room of the Sofitel Hotel in Manila on Sunday, July 3.
A few minutes later, some of France’s coaching staff arrived. They greeted the man in a blue suit in French, shook hands then took their place near the podium to follow the proceedings.
The man in a blue suit is Tony Parker Sr. The big guest of honor is none other than his son, William Anthony Parker, Jr. or “Tony” to the world at large.
Tony Jr has been an endorser of Peak since 2013; as part of a stable that includes Dwight Howard and George Hill, to name a few.
“I don’t have to pinch myself to see how my son’s career has unfolded,” proudly said the father. “I will say this though; it turned out to be unexpected to where it is.”
(READ: France, Parker wary of Gilas’ outside shooting)
Tony Sr played for Loyola University in the 1970s before moving to Europe where he played professionally for 15 years. He eventually settled down in France to raise a family and a brood of 3 boys. Tony Jr was the eldest followed by Terrence and Pierre.
“I never forced my sons to play basketball. I don’t believe in that. I have 3 sons and I let them grow up giving them the freedom to choose what they wanted to do. Tony chose basketball. But it wasn’t until he saw Michael Jordan play where he finally chose basketball over football.”
The Olympic Qualifying Tournament are the last few games in a French uniform for Tony Jr. The father wasn’t there for his son’s final game on French soil in a Les Bleus jersey, a match versus Japan in Rouen. “I did see his game versus Serbia in Paris (on June 21 before France flew to Serbia for the home-and-away tune-up matches). Hopefully, he can keep on going all the way to Rio.
“Right now, it’s not the time to be sentimental about Tony’s last games. It is not something we need to discuss right now. He’s been to one Olympics (2012 in London where Les Bleus finished sixth) and over a hundred games with the national team. I think his time is done and he’s given so much to the national team. He’ll finish out his years with the San Antonio Spurs.”
As for Junior’s impact on French basketball, the father downplayed his son’s contributions. “I don’t want to say that my son is the best. All his teammates are like my sons and I don’t like to make comparisons to others. But Tony’s generation changed French basketball. Now players realize they have the potential to play in the NBA.”
How big has his son been to French sports?
“Two years ago he was voted the number one sports personality in France. So he means a lot to the French people. I never thought he’d arrive at this — these accomplishments with France and in the NBA. So it’s good to see this happen,” shared the senior Parker. – Rappler.com
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