As iconic as The Alamo is to our city, it doesn’t rival Spurs fandom as the greatest source of pride and unity in San Antonio. Locals and visitors alike show up to games at AT&T Center, fill bars and restaurants on the regular, and sport the jerseys of their favorite players around town. There’s nothing quite like seeing one of “your own” do big things and embrace a city as if it has always been home. Such is the case with Tony Parker – and the legendary career he has built in the NBA – right here in San Antonio.

Tony’s contribution to the San Antonio Spurs was celebrated in his jersey retirement ceremony on November 11th. Accolades and titles aside, it was a moment of reflection for Francophiles living in San Antonio. To think about the French connection they share with Tony Parker, and what that has meant for the community. Our very own Charles Matt, President of L’Alliance Française de San Antonio and Sylvain Nykiel, owner of La Boulangerie shared their thoughts with Spectrum News. You can watch the video segment below, but here are some highlights from the interview:

National Pride 

Tony Parker made a huge contribution to the sport, not just in San Antonio but in France as well. He’s the epitome of talent: Tony started his career with the Spurs at 19, and went on to become a four-time NBA champion, six-time All-Star and MVP. He also helped the French national basketball team win the EuroBasket for the first time in 2013. Such success is magnetic and draws you in with excitement. There’s unparalleled joy in winning and feeling like you are a part of that success. Sylvain Nykiel reflected on winning the 2014 NBA finals:

“It was like when we (France) won the World Cup in ’98, but this is just a team from a town.”

Paints a great image of San Antonio

Tony Parker was the driving force that introduced the French to San Antonio – and presumably Texas in general – creating an association between the two. It was telling that Tony decided to stay in San Antonio after retiring. He could have packed up and relocated anywhere else, but he didn’t. Charles Matt speaks more about how Tony Parker embraced San Antonio:

“I think for French people and French speakers, it was a real point of pride that Tony was here in San Antonio…we’ve seen him grow up into this fabulous young man.”

We’re excited for the momentum and growth we are seeing in our community of Francophiles. Stay connected by becoming a member or by subscribing to our mailing list. Hear from Charles about upcoming activities and events from L’Alliance Française de San Antonio.

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