In many of the successful careers in sport there is an image that is repeated with some frequency. The one of the young person who has in his room the poster of the athlete he admires. She looks at him dreaming of emulating his deeds. And then, one day, as if it were a time teleportation trick, those dreams become reality and, at the same time, the desires of those who come after. And that’s when any of them could recite that Ron Padgett haiku that said, “Now that was fast. I mean life.”
Something like this thought the French basketball player Tony Parker when he decided to end his sports career. From seeing Michael Jordan hanging in his room in Normandy to a 20-year professional career in which he won four NBA titles and a European championship with the French team. Two decades in which he became a rare bird — a European point guard on an American team — he was named the best player in the 2014 finals and was an All-Star six times. In June 2019 he announced his retirement and now he counts on beyond all my dreams (JC Editions) two decades that seem like a sigh. He does it in collaboration with the French journalist David Loriot, who writes about basketball in L’Equipe.
In the end, the transition from looking at a poster to being the subject of that poster happens much more naturally than you might imagine. It happened to Parker when, on a flight back from Orlando, coach Gregg Popovich called him to the front of the plane to announce that he would be starting point guard. His first reaction was to ask if Tim Duncan, the star of the team, agreed. He wasn’t and it took him several months to accept it, but he didn’t care. The second thing he did was take out the phone to call his father and tell him: “Tomorrow I’m going to start. Its my opportunity”. The illusion of childhood began to transform into a sheet to decorate the childhood room of those who came from behind.
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