confirms his journey from an unknown Belgian-born, Paris-raised ballplayer to
an international celebrity who to certain demographics—say, housewives who
subscribe to US Weekly—is probably the most famous face in the NBA. "Oh,
he's so Hollywood now," says Duncan. "That's what we call him:
Hollywood. We kill him all the time."
Parker takes the
abuse in stride. "We're a family," he says, "and I know the guys
want me to be happy, no matter what they say."
Happiness was in
the air on a recent evening, as Eva was cuddled up next to him in a dimly lit
San Antonio restaurant. In faded jeans, a baggy sweatshirt, Uggs boots and no
makeup, Longoria, 32, projects a persona completely different from the
glamorous vision in Vegas. Of course, she's still hot. Since they began dating
2� years ago, Parker and Longoria have never lived in the same city, and all
the long-distance pining has had the predictable effect: They can't keep their
hands off each other.
Theirs is a
classic case of opposites attracting. The 6'2" Parker is soft-spoken and
reflective; the 5'3" Longoria is outgoing and brassy, her laugh a
full-blown honk. They have a few key interests in common; for example, both are
epicureans and oenophiles. Tonight's dinner is preceded by a lengthy, animated
discussion with various restaurant staffers about the wine list. "Two
glasses a night," Parker counsels. "It's good for the heart."
Longoria stole his
in November 2004 during a chance meeting in the Spurs' locker room. Says
Parker, "She came to our game for one reason: to meet me."
"Tony, gimme a
break," Longoria objects, rolling her eyes. "Growing up in Corpus
Christi, my dad was always a big Spurs fan, so I took him to a game for fun. We
were in the stands, and a team official asked if I wanted to meet the players
after the game. I had no interest, but my dad wanted to, so we went down to the
if I would meet Eva Longoria," says Parker. "I said, 'Who?' I didn't
know who she was. I wasn't a TV guy."
"As a fan I
knew who Tony was, but I didn't really know much about him," Longoria says.
"That night I read in the program that he was French. I had just gotten
back from Paris, so when we were introduced, I made a little small talk in
"That got my
attention," he says. "I also thought she was very cute, of course. We
talked in the locker room for a few minutes, and she said she was going to a
party in town later that night, so I asked if she wanted to go to dinner
beforehand. I said her dad could come too, but I didn't mean it. Anyway, he
didn't come, and Eva and I talked all night long."
"Then he went
on the road for a week," she says. "When he came back to town, we had
our first real date: breakfast at IHOP. It was so romantic."