SPURS GUARD Tony Parker is excited to bring you a basketball movie, even if he won't be dunking over aliens. Instead, Parker is a producer on the film Amateur, out April 6 on Netflix, which tells the story of a 14-year-old navigating the shady world of NCAA recruiting. SI caught up with Parker to discuss the movie, the Spurs' being in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 21 seasons and more.
SI: What made you want to be involved with Amateur?
TP: I always thought the NCAA system was not fair with all those millions and millions of dollars, and the athletes getting nothing. I don't know why they wouldn't get paid. Coming from Europe, I started my professional career when I was 16, and I was making money. In tennis, gymnastics, snowboarding, all those sports, you start very young and you make money. I thought maybe the movie could help improve the system.
SI: It's easy to take the Spurs' success for granted. What's this season been like?
TP: This year is a great example, with all the injuries we've been having, that it's not easy to make the playoffs that often. Right now we're fighting. It's been different.
SI: Is this almost more exciting in a way?
TP: No, not really. [Laughs.]
SI: So you hit one of the best shots of all time in the Finals that no one talks about anymore—the stepback over LeBron in Game 6 in 2013. What do you remember about that play?
TP: I thought we were going to win the championship. LeBron switched on me, I hit the stepback three. And then right after that I get a steal off LeBron. He tried to make a pass, I get the steal, and I go up, and I score again. We're up five with 28 seconds. It was a tough one. It could have been the biggest shot of my career if we win. [The Spurs went on to lose the series in seven games.]
SI: How has your relationship with coach Gregg Popovich evolved over the years? He was famously very tough on you early in your career.
TP: Now it's like we don't have to say that much. He just gives me a look, and I know what he wants. It's more about helping our young guys. Because Manu [Ginóbili] and I are not going to play forever.