The Real-Life Diet of Tony Parker, Who Sent His Chef to Train in France

What’s the winemaking region you’re most excited about right now?

For me, Bordeaux. If I had to go to an island, and I could only bring one bottle, it would be a bottle from the Bordeaux region. If I had to go with a country? Spanish wine. The Spanish, they do very, very good wine.

You’re a partner in a champagne vineyard. Where would you recommend someone start?

Oooo, that’s a great question. Depends on your budget.

Well, let’s go baller, and let’s go budget.

(Laughs.) If you want to go all in, I think you can never go wrong with Salon. Salon is an unbelievable champagne. They only make 60,000 bottles. It’s a very, very high-end, premium champagne. And then, if you want to start slow, I feel like Jeeper, which I own, it’s a good way to start, because we have 10 different wines: the Blanc de Blancs, the Blanc de Noirs, the Rosé, the Brut, Blanc Assemblage. You can try all of our different tastes to see what kind of champagne you prefer.

As a man raised in Europe, what was it like to eat in the States in the early Aughts?

It was just tough, because it was a lot of fast food or Tex-Mex, you know. It was a lot different from what I’d known. When you eat in France, they always tell you, Oh, that ingredient comes from there, and this is from that market. The U.S. now, they have a big awareness about the food. A lot of the restaurants that opened are more health-oriented and different choices.

Did challenges with food early affect your performance?

I hired a chef, so I was OK. (Laughs.)

Was it difficult to find a chef who could make these choices?

I sent him to France to learn. (Laughs.)

How was it adjusting to the cultural differences between the European leagues and the NBA?

For me, personally, I loved it. Remember, my dad was American, so I felt like I had the best of both worlds: the American way, super positive, high confidence and always believing they can do anything. And then the European side: When everything is good, don’t be too high on yourself, and when everything is bad, don’t be too hard on yourself. A happy middle manages the ups and downs of a career.

You and your era of the point guard meant driving to the net rather than the modern Steph Curry shootout from behind the key. And at six-two, you weren’t the biggest guy. So how is your body now after such a long, physical career?

Body feels great. I was very blessed—I never really had a big injury in my 22-year career. I always felt healthy through the long seasons with the Spurs and going to the Finals, and then in the summer, playing with the [French] national team. I only had one big injury, when I was 35: I ruptured my quad and my quad tendon, and so I was out for eight months. After that, I played two more years.

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