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TONY & EVA & THE SPURS: A LOVE STORY
Alan Shipnuck
June 27, 2007
BALANCING HIS ROMANCE WITH A TV STAR AND HIS JOB WITH THE SPURS HAS EARNED TONY PARKER TWO KINDS OF RINGS
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June 27, 2007

Tony & Eva & The Spurs: A Love Story

BALANCING HIS ROMANCE WITH A TV STAR AND HIS JOB WITH THE SPURS HAS EARNED TONY PARKER TWO KINDS OF RINGS

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Such treatment 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 locker room."

"Someone asked 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 French."

"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."

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