A few days ago was released on Netflix a documentary on Tony Parker: « The Final Shot ». During an hour and a half, his mother, his father, Gregg Popovich or Tim Duncan take turns to tell the memories they have of TP. And among all these guests, there is notably Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers guard, who died almost a year ago in a helicopter accident, played the game as one of the fiercest opponents of the French point guard during the rivalry between the Spurs and the Lakers.
« I played against Tony for years. It’s his fault that I didn’t win more titles. I remember there were games where Tony was like on a leash. If he made a mistake, Gregg Popovich would take him out. I would tell Tony, « I’m going to rush you, because if you dribble on your foot and lose the ball, Pop is going to take you off the court and I’m not going to have to deal with you anymore. » But I think that demanding environment taught him to hold up under pressure. I think during our matchup during the 2003 playoffs, it clicked for him. It became harder for us to contain him. His game became more complete. He understood what Pop wanted him to do on offense. There was Tony, Manu, Tim and Pop. It was the perfect combination, and that’s how dynasties were created. Together they made each other better. » Kobe Bryant.
Obviously, the personality of the French point guard has marked the legend of the Lakers, and he tried everything to destabilize him …
« I tried to hate the players I played against, but I never succeeded with Tony. He was a really nice guy, even though he would beat the crap out of you on the court. He did it politely. I played with Rony Turiaf, who Tony went to school with. I asked Rony to teach me a few words in French, so I could annoy Tony. If I spoke to him in French, maybe he would react by wondering where I learned that. And no, I can’t repeat what I told him. I’ll let you imagine. » Kobe Bryant.
« I tried to look at him in the corner. I didn’t react, but in my head it was funny to me that he would take the time to learn our language to try to outwit me. It was strong. But he knew very well that against us he could say whatever he wanted, we didn’t react. Plus when I got to the NBA, the Lakers and Spurs had quite a rivalry. » Tony Parker.