- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 14, 2007

CLEVELAND — San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker is set to marry a Hollywood starlet in a lavish ceremony next month.

He already has released a rap CD in his native France — titled “Balance-toi” (Move Yourself), featuring Jamie Foxx and Fabolous — that is scheduled to hit the United States soon.

And by averaging 24.7 points a game against Cleveland in the NBA Finals, which the Spurs lead 3-0, Parker has a strong chance at finals MVP.

Whether Parker’s rap game measures up to his basketball game is questionable — Eva Longoria told People her husband-to-be is “such a talent”; a video is on YouTube — but Parker has emerged, unquestionably, as a legitimate star.

“I think you’re seeing that,” Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. “He’s playing with such a great confidence that he didn’t have when he was a young player, but now you see it. He played great, not just against us but against everyone.”

On the way to the finals, which continue tonight with Game 4 in Cleveland, Parker more than held his own against two future Hall of Fame guards — Allen Iverson and Steve Nash — and came up big against Utah’s Deron Williams, who in his second season already has become a top-five point guard in the league.

In three finals games, Parker leads San Antonio in scoring while shooting 53.3 percent. In the Spurs‘ unsightly 75-72 win here Tuesday, Parker, not a great 3-point shooter, nailed a big one late to give the Spurs a five-point lead and push the Cavaliers to the brink of elimination.

This is a far cry from the 2003 finals, in which Parker was a second-year player starting — and often struggling — for a championship team. The next summer, the talk in San Antonio was mostly about acquiring New Jersey’s Jason Kidd — then a free agent — to replace the sometimes-erratic Parker in the lineup.

But with the 34-year-old Kidd struggling with injuries and Parker, at 25, with perhaps 10 years left in front of him, the Spurs are probably happy they didn’t make that move — especially now that they could have the first European player named finals MVP on their roster.

“That would be nice, too, but this is Timmy’s team, and it’s always been Timmy’s team,” said Parker, deferring to Duncan, the finals MVP for the Spurs‘ three previous championships. “I don’t even think about that. I just go out there and try to be a difference, try to be aggressive and just play the game. If it happens, I’ll be the first one to be very happy. But if it goes to Timmy, I’ll be happy to win a third championship.”

Parker and the Spurs don’t want to come off as presumptuous, but nobody really thinks they can lose this thing now. No team has rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win the finals. Of the 11 instances in which a team held a 3-0 lead, that team swept the series seven times.



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