All-Star point guard Tony Parker has had a relatively smooth career on the court, turning from an excellent role player and NBA champion into the clear offensive linchpin of a team that came within a few seconds of besting the Miami Heat in this June's NBA Finals. Off the court, though, things have not always been so easy for Parker. In addition to some a high-profile divorce and rumors of infidelity with a teammate's wife, Parker nearly saw his career end last summer when caught in the crossfire of a bottle-throwing fight between musical artists Chris Brown and Drake. The Spurs have a reputation as no-nonsense professionals, but it's safe to say that Parker's life itself is full of adventures that make him notable even in the wacky world of celebrity culture.
Arguably the goofiest turn in his public life came in 2007, when Parker released his debut album "TP," an 11-track rap album in his native tongue of French. Although many athletes had released music before Parker, the world was not entirely prepared for videos in which Parker sincerely discussed the pain and wonder of first love at major Paris landmarks and palled around with Fabolous (NSFW language on both, maybe — I don't speak French).
This foray into music has been something of a punchline ever since, if only because the whole ordeal seemed decidedly un-Spurs. And while it was safe to predict that Parker would never rap again, he confirmed as much in a recent interview with Tele-Loisirs (via Project Spurs and EOB, translation via Google Translate and my own sense of what constitutes a real sentence):
In 2007, his music career was launched when he released his first album which featured guest appearances from Jamie Foxx and Booba Soprano. The single from this album sold nearly 50,000 copies. Despite this good result, after a time considering recording a second effort, he changed his mind and now he confirms that his career is over. "I'm retired from music." What a pity ...
Quelle horreur, indeed! Although Parker never reached the heights of MC Solaar and other French hip-hop legends, he was not without success, even if some of those sales likely came from people interested in the curiosity of the best-ever French basketball player venturing into the studio. It appears that Parker is done, though, whether out of boredom or the shame of being made fun of every time anyone brings up his rap career.
It should be noted, of course, that those of us who do love these jokes — and, let's face it, the simple fact that I'm writing this post means I'm one of those people — do not have to stop simply because Parker no longer raps in public. As any English teacher will tell you, art exists in the eternal present. We'll always have "Balance-Toi."