Team France's Basketball Leader Gets the Netflix Treatment
A Quick Film Review
Tony Parker is not an Olympic champion, and not even an Olympic medalist, after two straight quarterfinal losses with Team France against Team Spain in basketball at London 2012 and Rio 2016. But he is a two-time Olympian, and an 18-year National Basketball Association player noted for his speed, intellect, and leadership.
The Final Shot whisks us through Parker's NBA career - a star in the French league who entered the NBA in 2001 as an unheralded prospect to the San Antonio Spurs. But by the time Parker leaves the team a remarkable 17 years later, he's helped them to four NBA titles and earned himself six NBA All-Star nods.
A common critique of the Spurs even during their championship runs, was their lack of, well, personality and drama. That is acknowledged by The Final Shot. By extension, though, Parker the documentary subject is afflicted by the same observation. Aside from his obvious basketball talent and prominence, he just isn't that compelling a leading man, on the court or on film. That we don't see much of his dissolved relationship with actress Eva Longoria adds to the lack of sizzle in The Final Shot.
Perhaps it's also a bias of this United States-based viewer. I wonder how this documentary - directed by Frenchman Florent Bodin - has been received in France, where Parker is respected as the leader of French basketball, and where as such his understated talents are much more lauded.
Nevertheless, Parker's skill is well documented, as is his passion for the international game. Despite not having Olympic success, Parker, with Team France, earned four EuroBasket medals, including the 2013 championship. And, his success in the NBA, as former teammate and thee-time Olympian David Robinson notes in The Final Shot, helped drive the global integration of the league.
For that, and for respect for Parker's all-around play, The Final Shot is worth a basketball fan's viewing. Plus, seeing fellow Olympians Tim Duncan (Athens 2004), Kobe Bryant (Beijing 2008, London 2012), Pau Gasol (Beijing, London, Rio, and Tokyo 2020), and even Teddy Riner (judo, Beijing, London, Rio, Tokyo) appear in testimony to Parker is further weight to this athlete's impact.