weekend in Las Vegas, and the NBA's most glamorous couple has just arrived on
the red carpet outside of Pure nightclub. The mere sight of Tony Parker and Eva
Longoria sets off a mini-stampede among the assembled fans, photographers and
overcoiffed TV talent. The club is giving Parker and Longoria big bucks to host
a party, and running this publicity gantlet is the price they have to pay.
Longoria, effortlessly working the crowd, looks dazzling in a revealing
wraparound white top, short shorts and gold high heels that match her bling;
Parker wears a beige suit and a faraway look in his eyes. Sensing his
discomfort, Longoria takes charge as if she were the All-Star point guard.
"We're over here," she whispers, turning Parker toward a bank of
over here," she says, guiding him farther down the red carpet.
going to do one more over here," she says, spinning him toward another
cluster of cameras. Finally, she gently removes Parker's hand from hers and
steps away to be photographed without him. There is a reason she got top
billing on the party fliers: Longoria is a TV starlet, tabloid siren and
fashion trendsetter; her fianc� is merely in town for his second straight
Taking in the
spectacle, Parker offers a wary half-smile. "This is Eva's world," he
says, "not mine."
Soon they are
herded inside, to a VIP section overlooking the dance floor. Thousands of
commoners have paid $20 or $30 a head to attend; spotting Parker and Longoria,
a sweaty mass of camera-wielding clubbers surges against the glass wall that
separates them from their hosts. As the night goes on, the celebrity wattage
increases, with Cameron Diaz, Nicky Hilton and Dennis Rodman among the boldface
names stopping by. Sequestered in the VIP area, Parker finally exhales, rapping
along with the thumping hip-hop and ordering bottle after bottle of Cristal for
his guests. He and Longoria exit the club at 3 a.m. and then spend another hour
gambling. When they call it a night, the All-Star tip-off is 13 hours away.
Arriving at the
arena the following afternoon, Longoria relays her pregame pep talk. "I
told Tony to take some aspirin, because it was a long night of partying,"
she purrs. "He might be a little sluggish out there. He might be a little
This is Tony
Parker's world: a low-slung, windowless building sheathed in aluminum on the
outskirts of San Antonio, set amid medical clinics, churches and mini-malls.
This is the Spurs' practice facility, a structure befitting the franchise of
no-nonsense superstar Tim Duncan and buttoned-down coach Greg Popovich. On a
team that prizes the puritan work ethic, Parker is usually the last player to
leave the practice court, thanks to his daily ritual of extra shooting drills.
Today is no exception. It is a couple of weeks after the All-Star Game, which
means Parker is back to business. Long after his teammates have left the gym,
he's stroking free throws, changing baskets to force himself to adjust to
As Parker finally
leaves the court to head to the weight room, Popovich talks about how the
24-year-old balances the sobering responsibilities of running the Spurs and his
glitzy life with Longoria. " Tony Parker is one of the most mature young
people I've ever been around," says Popovich. "He's never been late to
a practice, he's never missed a shootaround. His dedication to this team is
Well, total might
be a bit strong. Two nights earlier, in a 107--91 home win over the Toronto
Raptors, Parker had game highs of 27 points and nine assists, guiding the Spurs
to their sixth victory in what at week's end was a season-high 12-game winning
streak. ( San Antonio's 45--18 record was third best in the league.) Minutes
after stepping off the court he beelined for a local airstrip, where a private
jet awaited. He is coy about his ultimate destination--"Wouldn't you like
to know?" he says with a twinkle--but when Parker returned to San Antonio
24 hours later, Longoria was in town, too.
This kind of
jet-setting is perhaps not ideal for the stretch drive, but Parker has some
experience working around Longoria's schedule while she's in Los Angeles
shooting Desperate Housewives, the hit show that has made her a household name.
On Jan. 28 he scored seven of his team-high 19 points in overtime to help beat
the Lakers 96--94 in L.A. After the game he proceeded directly from Staples
Center to the Shrine Auditorium to escort Longoria to the Screen Actors Guild
Awards. In the next day's USA Today, Parker's on-court heroics earned all of
one sentence in the sports section. The life section featured a huge color
picture of him and Longoria on the red carpet, Parker's sharp gray pinstripe
suit matching the color of her flowing Vera Wang gown.