Tony Parker is playing through a grade 1 hamstring pull that, were we in the midst of the NBA’s regular season, would keep him out a couple of weeks so as to avoid a potential career-altering tear of the hamstring. Parker, mindful that this 2013 Finals run could be the last of the Tim Duncan era in San Antonio, has put his future on the line to try and lead the Spurs to their first championship since 2007, and the fourth of Tony’s career.
Former Spur and current San Antonio broadcaster Sean Elliott has rankled some ardent NBA League Pass watchers with his homerish takes on his Spurs and his often rude and dismissive musings about the opponents at hand. League Pass followers haven’t had to fire up the NBA LP for two months now, as the national broadcasters have taken over the airwaves, and yet that hasn’t stopped Elliott from putting his foot in mouth yet again. This time, pointlessly trashing all of France while clumsily attempting to talk up Tony Parker’s toughness while he plays with that painful hamstring pull.
“Everything that they've said about French people doesn't apply to him,” said Elliott, a former Spurs star who helped the team win its first NBA title in 1999.
“It just doesn't apply. He's as tough as they come. And I promise you, if he was in a bigger market, they would be comparing him to a guy like (former NBA star) AI (Allen Iverson), who took the hits and fell all the time.”
Yeah, maybe next time we can find a way to laud one of the better point guards of the last 25 years without denigrating an entire country. Maybe it’s best – and remember, this is a person in Elliott that talks for a living – to appreciate Parker’s combination of brilliance and grit without needlessly dismissing the toughness of a country that has helped to hold off marauders for centuries while sustaining its own culture and heritage.
This Express-News column was supposed to be a tidy feature about Elliott, the man who once helped the San Antonio Spurs on its way to the 1999 championship while working with a kidney that needed to be surgically removed, pumping up the toughness of a player in Parker who could be risking a career-threatening injury by playing in these Finals. Even if Elliott was joking, giving a half-cocked smile while repeating the same nonsense about the French that his funny uncle (or whomever) once passed on to him years ago, this was still a stupid, awful thing to say.
We get it, we get it. Freedom fries, berets, dismissive attitudes and all that hilarious stuff. Maybe a refresher course on the French Resistance and the brave soldiers that dove arm in arm with Allied forces at Normandy could help Elliott develop a better idea about being “as tough as they come.” It’s not, as Elliott alluded to, about playing like Allen freaking Iverson.
And if you are going to joke about the supposed lack of toughness in the French … at least make it funny. This one failed on both levels.