Basketball legend and LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne owner Tony Parker is Joe Arlauckas’s special guest on the season finale of The Crossover podcast.
Their conversation stretched from Parker’s childhood through his professional career and his plans for ASVEL in his retirement.
Born in Belgium and raised in France, Parker’s first sport of choice was soccer, but that did not last long.
“I just fell in love with [basketball]. I played soccer for three years from 6 to 9 years old, but then I decided to play basketball.
I saw Michael Jordan playing on TV and my dad played basketball and I just fell in love with the game. I started playing basketball every day and I loved it,” Parker recalled.
Although the podcast was recorded before Parker recently announced his retirement as a player, he summed up his career and spoke of what would cause him to eventually hang up his uniform.
“It’s been an unbelievable career, and it’s even better than every dream I ever had when I was a kid. I always told my parents and my family and my friends that if I can’t be Tony Parker anymore and I can’t win championships, I have no interest in playing basketball.
I know the situation and I know you can’t play forever and I made peace with that a long time ago,” Parker said.
The two projects that are fueling Parker’s passion today are ASVEL joining the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague next season and the opening of the Tony Parker Adequat Academy in Lyon, France, later this year.
“Everybody is super excited to get the EuroLeague next year. Now the new arena is going to come soon, so we just keep putting Lyon on the basketball map,” he added.
His academy may or may not produce basketball pros, but that’s not what it’s about, Parker said.
“It’s my way to give back to my country and help the new generation. I am very excited about that project.
It’s going to open in September and we’re going to start with hopefully like 75 students and we’ll build from there and try and build a school where anybody in the world can come and learn anything they want to do,” Parker explained.
With a one-hour format of exclusive one-on-one interviews, The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas goes well beyond the playing court with each podcast to delve into the life experiences that have made his guests protagonists and legends of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.
The Crossover has featured some of the greats of the competition, including Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos Piraeus, Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens and Kyle Hines of CSKA Moscow, coaches Pablo Laso of Real Madrid and David Blatt of Olympiacos, and retired stars Nikola Vujcic of Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and Robertas Javtokas of Zalgiris Kaunas, among others.