Last week I attended the Gillette Fusion ProGlide “Ultimate Summer Job” event at the Hudson Hotel, and in addition to the open bar, the event was great. Gillette tapped Tony Parker, Erin Andrews and John Cena to judge which duo would get to travel the country this summer with a $50,000 stipend to try and convince guys along the way to take the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Challenge with their newest razor. As part of the event, I got a professional shave with the new ProGlide and the hype is legitimate. My face is smooth as ever. But more importantly, I caught up with Tony Parker to talk World Cup, World Championships, and other things worldly.
Dime: So you’re here judging the Gillette Fusion ProGlide event for the “Ultimate Summer Job.” We were wondering what was your best summer job and what was your worst?
Tony Parker: Actually, I never had a summer job. I started playing professional basketball when I was 15 so I never had a chance to do that.
Dime: We’re in the middle of the World Cup and you’re from France so you grew up playing some soccer…
TP: Very sad, very disappointing first game. I hate 0-0. So we’ll see what happens, we have a tough next game. My wife is from Mexico – we’re not going to like each other for that game. It’ll be a big game so we’ll see what happens. (Note: Mexico won, 2-0.)
Dime: So what would you say are some of your basketball skills that would translate best to the soccer field if you were to switch sports?
TP: Well obviously speed. I think I’d be a pretty good forward going through the guys and dribbling, stuff like that. I think I’d be pretty good player to set up people.
Dime: Alright, here’s a scenario: it’s the World Cup Finals, France vs. Canada. It’s a tied game and it comes down to shootouts, one person left on each team, you versus Steve Nash. Who wins?
TP: (Laughing) It depends on what we have to do. Shootout? I’d have to give it to Steve Nash. But if we were doing a speed contest, I’d win.
Dime: The World Championships are coming up and you’re going to be sitting out this year. When you’re not playing, who’s the team leader for France?
TP: I think Boris Diaw is going to be the leader of that team. We have Nicolas Batum from Portland who’s going to play and also Rodrigue Beaubois from Dallas, so we’re still going to have a pretty talented team.
We’re going to be pretty competitive and hopefully get some good rest. With Ronny Turiaf, Joakim Noah, we can all come back for 2011 and have a great European Championships to try to qualify for the Olympics.
Dime: Besides the veterans, who are some of the younger players coming up in France that you think we should look out for?
TP: Rodrigue Beaubois.
Dime: When you were growing up you saw the Dream Team play. Did that infuence you at any point?
TP: Oh yeah, definitely. I think it influenced everybody. Everybody who was in Europe at the time who didn’t know about basketball knew about basketball after that. It was the best team ever. You know the Dream Team, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson had so much charisma and I think they influenced a lot of young kids in Europe, and I was one of them.
Dime: How does your game differ when playing in the international arena versus playing in the NBA?
TP: It’s a different game because in the NBA it’s more up-tempo, it goes faster, you know up and down, fast breaks, transition, stuff like that. In Europe, it’s a little bit slower, it’s more half court, you have set plays, etc. Defense is different too because in Europe you can stay in the paint whereas in the NBA you have the three second rule. You have to make a couple of adjustments but at the end of the day it’s still basketball.
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