I tell this story to whoever listens (thanks Chloe my dog), but I was at a nightclub last year with my beautiful fiancee when Tony Parker showed up with his entourage.
His entrance was Ron Burgundy-esque. You know, like, "kind of a big deal" to everyone there.
Parker and his crew made their way through the crowd and camera flashes. He settled in a lounge area, then he got on the microphone and even started spinning some songs with the DJ.
He ramped up the crowd, yelled some things I didn't quite understand and then made some bold predictions about the season which obviously did not come true thanks those pesky Grizzlies.
It was a little brash, it was a little cocky, it was TP all the way. But it did not necessarily fit the way the Spurs operate.
As an outsider looking in, I have no problem with TP's life off the court and I get the feeling most people don't either, but there is a part of the Spurs fanbase that feels Parker is too much of a celeb, too much drama, should of been traded or wished he would have signed elsewhere when he was free agent.
Just last summer, some fans were upset when George Hill was traded instead of Parker. Remember that guy? The same George Hill averaging under 9 points a game this season.
But let's be fair. At times, Parker hasn't made it easy on himself. A high profile relationship/divorce with Eva Longoria, his brutally honest comments about the Spurs title window closing and his thoughts on playing in New York or being the Spurs most valuable trade asset didn't endear him to fans. Many will say he was also a no show last year against Memphis.
Yet how often is a 3-time NBA champion, Finals MVP and franchise player treated in that manner? If Parker didn't do anything for the rest of his career, it would be fine with me.
He doesn't need validation from anyone, but I get the feeling in his mind, he had to be better this season, make up for last year's playoff flop, and for my money, he's responded with an MVP type performance.
TP's stats wont blow anyone away eventhough he had a monster February (25 pts, 9 ast per game) and it wouldn't shock me if he doesn't get a single MVP vote, but who has done more with less this season?
Tim has been solid as usual, but continues to age and Manu has been on the shelf nearly all season. The rest of the roster is made up of role players. It's been Parker or bust and going into the weekend, the Spurs had the second best record in the wild West.
Just to be clear, I'm not by any means making the argument Parker is at the level of a LeBron, Rose, Durant or Kobe. I'm not that crazy, but take Parker away from the Spurs this season and I think they would be lucky to be at .500.
Take those other guys away from their respective teams and each one's roster is still loaded with all-star players: Westbrook, Harden, Wade, Bosh, Deng, Boozer, Gasol, Bynum...you get the point.
The only other player who trumps Parker's impact for his team this season is Kevin Love, who has somehow made the Wolves relevant again, but not "championship contender" relevant.
I never thought I would write this sentence, but the fact I really want to go to the Wolves game at AT&T next Wednesday says something.
This shortened NBA season/schedule has been pretty chaotic, but the one constant for the Spurs has been Parker. Sure, the Spurs will get Manu back and let's not kid ourselves, they need him healthy if they want to make any noise in the wide-open West playoffs. But TP has been special this season.
Does the MVP talk, All-Star stuff even matter though? Maybe to the TP that night at the club, but this TP is a little different in my eyes.
I want to believe he cares less about the personal accolades and wants to make up for last season.
No more talk, no more bold predictions, just take care of business on the court like an MVP candidate should. He's got my vote so far.