Tony Parker, Nicolas Anelka in trouble for making controversial ‘quenelle’ gesture

Nicolas-Anelka-quenelle-gestureSan Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker and Premier Leaguer striker Nicolas Anelka — both natives of France — have found themselves in hot water for making a controversial gesture that many perceive to be anti-Semitic. Anelka made the gesture, known as the “quenelle” salute, after scoring a goal on Saturday. A photo of Parker making the gesture alongside French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala surfaced over the weekend.

Some people believe the gesture is an inversion of the Nazi salute that has been made popular by Dieudonne. Parker, who said the photo of him and the comedian was several years old, released a statement of apology on Monday.

“While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it,” Parker said, via ESPN.com. “When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful.

“Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions. Hopefully this incident will serve to educate others that we need to be more aware that things that may seem innocuous can actually have a history of hate and hurt.”

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Tony Parker and fiancee Axelle Francine having a baby

Tony Parker Axelle Francine

Tony Parker shared some great news on his Twitter and Facebook accounts on Thursday.

The San Antonio Spurs point guard announced that he and fiancee/girlfriend Axelle Francine are having a baby.

Parker and Axelle have been dating since at least last February. He made it known in June that the two were engaged.

You may recall that Parker and ex-wife Eva Longoria actually were instructed by the “Desperate Housewives” executives to avoid having children so as not to jeopardize the actresses’ role on the show. Tony P. doesn’t have to worry about that with his new squeeze. Congratulations to the two.

Gregg Popovich made Tony Parker cry during his rookie season

Tony Parker Gregg PopovichIf you thought Gregg Popovich’s treatment of NBA sideline reporters was bad, you haven’t seen anything. Think about how hard the San Antonio Spurs coach must be on his players.

During an interview with ESPN’s SportsCenter, Spurs point guard Tony Parker admitted Popovich made him cry as a rookie.

“Oh yeah,” Parker said when asked if Pop ever made him cry. “A couple times during my rookie year it was tough because he’s a tough coach to play for. He’s very demanding. Now he’s got better, he’s more like easy, but back in the day he was like really tough.”

Parker actually touched on this subject last year. The all-star point guard said that the current rookies are lucky that Pop is so nice to them. Parker said that Pop, a former Air Force Academy graduate, mellowed with age and because of wine.

Parker also said in his interview with Mark Schwarz that his shot to win Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat was the best of his career. But he admits that he will never forget the way the team let the series get away.

Parker is now 31 and is in his 13th season with the Spurs. It’s been over a decade since Popovich berated him to the point of tears, but maybe the harsh treatment helped the point guard become the excellent player he is today.

Tony Parker engaged to girlfriend Axelle Francine

Tony Parker Axelle Francine

Tony Parker is engaged to girlfriend Axelle Francine, the San Antonio Spurs point guard revealed in a Twitter Q&A with fans on Wednesday.

Parker held a Q&A in association with Tissot watches and, in his first answer, he mentioned his “fiance,” likely as an answer to a question about what he enjoys doing in his free time.

Parker has been dating Francine since at least Feb. 2012, and possibly longer. Axelle, a French journalist who goes by her first name, even went to Memphis to watch her boyfriend play in the Western Conference finals against the Grizzlies last month, and the two were seen kissing in the hallway.

The Daily Mail says the two were recently spotted shopping for engagement rings, so news of their engagement is not a surprise.

Parker is getting over a highly-publicized divorce from TV star Eva Longoria. The two were married in 2007, separated in 2010, and became officially divorced in 2011. It didn’t take the Spurs point guard long to find someone new.

Longoria has also been involved in the dating scene since their divorce. She was in a relationship with Eduardo Cruz, rumored to have dated Matt Kemp, and confirmed she dated Mark Sanchez. Despite the breakup from Parker, Longoria recently expressed her support for the Spurs.

Also in the Q&A, Parker, whose Spurs lost to the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the NBA Finals last week, said that the Game 7 loss was not the hardest of his career. Instead, he said the Game 6 loss, in which the Spurs blew a 5-point lead in the final minute of the game, was the hardest of his career.

Parker says he will take a month off of basketball before joining the French national team for international competition in late July.

Tony Parker goes Tim Duncan casual with jeans, flannel to Game 7

Tony Parker jeans flannel

Does anything better represent the clash in style between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat than this image? While the Heat’s notable players will test the limits of fashion by strolling into arenas wearing capri pants and no socks, Tony Parker goes casual for what is one of the biggest games of his career.

Yes, Parker showed up to American Airlines Arena on Thursday wearing blue jeans and a flannel shirt. Sure, the jeans look like the designer kind, but that still doesn’t change that his outfit looks like something you’d see inside an office on a Casual Friday.

Maybe Parker is just borrowing fashion tips from the always suave Tim Duncan, who often looks like he’s dressed by Miller’s Outpost’s finest. At least this may be a sign that the Spurs are focused on what really matters entering Game 7 — the game, not their outfits.

Gregg Popovich rips reporter who asks if he will ‘mail in’ Game 4 to rest Tony Parker

Gregg Popovich interviewThe San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat are set to square off for Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, and Tony Parker’s status remains in question. An MRI revealed earlier this week that Parker suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain during Game 3, and he has been listed as day-to-day.

Fortunately for the Spurs, they have a 2-1 series lead over Miami. Because of that, a reporter made the mistake of asking Gregg Popovich if he might “mail in” Game 4 in order to rest Parker so he can come back later in the series.

“I’ve just got to tell you, that phrase ‘mail in Game 4 …” Popovich snapped, via Pro Basketball Talk. “It confuses my whole brain. I don’t think I can think past that comment. I would like to help you, but I don’t know how to help you. You can come back to our coach’s office and hit us up. We’ll be talking about all these sorts of things. Any ideas are welcome. I have no idea until I know how healthy he is tomorrow.”

The reporter was not suggesting that the Spurs should tank Game 4 and focus on Game 5. His point was likely that Popovich may be more inclined to play an injured Parker if the situation were reversed and his team was trailing 2-1, rather than risk Parker hurting his hamstring further.

As we have been reminded throughout the playoffs with interviews like this, Pop can be very difficult to talk to when the stakes are high. Anytime you downplay the importance of a playoff game in some way, the Spurs coach is not going to be pleased.

Tony Parker beats shot clock buzzer on clutch basket (Video)

Tony Parker was a star for the San Antonio Spurs in their 92-88 win over the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, and he made a controversial, clutch shot in the final seconds of the game.

The Heat had closed the gap and made it a two-point game in the final 30 seconds after LeBron James made two free throws. San Antonio got the ball for the next possession and Parker was absolutely harassed by Miami. He kept dribbling and dribbling and everywhere he looked he and his teammates were covered by Heat players. With the shot clock ticking down, Parker jumped off his pivot foot and threw in a bank shot. The basket gave San Antonio a 92-88 lead with 5 seconds left, essentially icing the game.

But did he get the shot off in time? This freeze frame from ABC shows that he did:

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