Here's some very cool, never-before-seen (by me) footage of Tony Parker and Boris Diaw balling together at Paris training center INSEP in 1999, when both were just 17 years old.
Earlier this week, Grantland's Jonathan Abrams wrote about the long relationship between the two (Parker calls Diaw his "best friend"), and how it began:
A gangly Boris Diaw soon joined Parker at the institute. He knew Parker's reputation, but the pair had never met. "He was already like a mini star in France, as far as everybody knew him from playing with the young teams and doing great," Diaw said. "There was already a little Parker phenomenon when I met him. He was already great."
Likewise, Parker had heard of Diaw — or his mother, to be precise. "She was one of the best women basketball players," Parker said. "When he first came, they always talked about, 'Oh, that's the son of the mom … ' And so I was like, Oh, OK, that's pretty good, so I guess he's got a big basketball IQ."
While Jordan had entranced Parker, Diaw idolized Magic Johnson. He was already tall — about 6-5 when Parker met him — but he had point guard aspirations, too. "He was so unselfish," Parker said. "It's contagious, 'cause then the whole team wants to pass the ball. He didn't care about stats. He always thinks about the team, what's good for the team, before himself." Diaw was the offense's fulcrum, getting the ball to where it needed to be, setting screens, crashing the boards, and dunking. "I used to throw alley-oops all the time to him; he was super-athletic," Parker said.
Parker had nothing but stardom ahead of him. It took Diaw 15 years to gain deserved recognition as something more than a system guy.