“I never could have imagined such a destiny. Not even in my wildest dreams, in my childhood bedroom in Normandy that was plastered with Michael Jordan posters.”
On June 10, 2019, Tony Parker officially announced the end of his career as a basketball player. It was a career that had taken him from France to the Finals, and have the Belgium-born point guard rewarded with four NBA championships. Like most enamoured with the court, MJ became Parker’s idol and inspiration. But after 17 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, becoming a six-time NBA All-Star and a Finals MVP, Parker himself would adorn aspiring sports star bedroom walls. His number 9 hangs high in the rafters of that little pocket of Texas.
“I have obviously worked very hard to give myself this dream life, which I want to share with you,” Parker tells the reader in his new autobiography, aptly titled ‘Beyond All My Dreams’. “If you’re holding this book, that means you’re curious about me as a person and as a basketball player. I’m going to tell you my life story as simply as possible, in my words and with sincerity.”
In collaboration with David Loriot, journalist for L’Équipe, Parker recounts and unveils his ‘Beginnings’, his ‘Life in the NBA, ‘Life in France, ‘Life as a Businessman’, and a private life that helped - for better or for worse - elevate him from sport star to celebrity superstar.
Aside from the Rings quartet and playing the game TransAtlantic, there’s the reveal of the relationships, both personal and professional. Parker recites his business dealings with Jean-Michel Aulas of French football club Olympique Lyonnais, who he describes as “by far the best sports club president from the last 30 years,” as his ventures steered away from the NBA, and the time in New York, when Parker was hanging with Thierry Henry at a club called WIP when Chris Brown and Drake got into a fight over Rihanna and a piece of glass flew into his eye. (“A few hours later, we were on a plane for Paris. I barely slept. I still had a little alcohol in my system, and I didn’t really realize there was glass in my eye.”)
Tony Parker was a face of the NBA for the best part of two decades. He may have grown up with Jordan on his wall but the success that Parker himself obtained saw him become a poster boy in his own right and garnered a profile to match, even surpass, the points. “My dear reader, I will even sometimes speak to you informally, because that’s how I express myself—directly and without pretence,” he states as Beyond All My Dreams opens. For a player who has ascended to the very highest echelons, through hard work and talent but through a spectre of stardust, as a basketball fan, and as a reader, that’s all you can ask for.
Tony Parker: Beyond All My Dreams, by Tony Parker, Triumph Books, £26.99