Fresh from turning 40, four-time NBA champion Tony Parker jetted from his home in Lyon over to Cannes on Thursday for less than 24 hours. No time for red carpets or screenings, the onetime league MVP had a singular focus for late morning into early afternoon — promoting a new powdered wellness drink brand.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Parker at the JW Marriott inside Nathalie Dubois’ DPA exclusive Cannes gifting lounge. Below, Parker talks about his investment portfolio, life after the NBA and why walking the Cannes red carpet with ex-wife Eva Longoria was such a surprise.
What are you doing in Cannes?
I’m here for a health drink called Smart Good Things that we launched in April in all the pharmacies in France. I met the CEO eight months ago, and when he told me about it and that we would give 25 percent of all the money we make to help support causes for kids, women and [the elderly], I said, ‘I’m in.’ Four doctors, who are very famous in France, created the drink by spending 13 years on research. I wanted to come on board not just as an ambassador, but also to invest my own money and help create marketing and other plans because our goal, after launching in France, is to come to the US in October or November.
I’m sure a lot of opportunities come your way. Why are you so passionate about this one?
Because of the charity aspect, the fact that we’re giving back 25 percent of proceeds to causes that can help change lives. Also, the fact that I have two kids, ages eight and six. So I pay way more attention now to [diet and nutrition], and these drinks have no sugar. People are also paying more attention to health and what we eat and drink. [Wellness] is the future.
How does it feel to be in Cannes? I imagine you can’t really walk down the street …?
I feel at home. I love the people, it’s great and it’s part of the job, so I don’t mind. I’ve been in Cannes so many times, and it’s always nice to see the people and to feel the energy, especially now after COVID with no masks. You can see that everybody is happy and enjoying themselves.
Since you have been here many times, what’s your favorite Cannes memory?
When I walked the red carpet with Eva [Longoria]† That’s got to be my top memory, because it was my first time to come here with her, and she was an ambassador for L’Oreal. When you’re from France, you always hear about the Cannes red carpet, but I never thought I would be able to be here, especially as a basketball player winning NBA championships. So, walking the carpet with her was an incredible moment and my favorite Cannes memory.
Speaking of the NBA, how are you finding life after the league?
I love it. I accomplished everything that I wanted to accomplish. I was very blessed to play with a great team, a great coach and great teammates. I won a lot of championships. When it came time, I was ready for the next chapter of life. I’m very busy with a lot of different things. We’re here talking about Smart Good Things, but I have my own academy, I own two basketball teams, a men’s team and a women’s team. I have my horse stable and just last week, we won one of the biggest races in the world.
Where was the race?
It’s called Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, it was in Paris Longchamp sponsored by Emirates. I’ve only been in this world for like a year and a half, and we won — it’s crazy. We weren’t the favorite at all. Everything I’m doing now, I just love it. I have investments in rosé and champagne, too, and that’s something I really wanted to do after my basketball career. I stay busy.
Are you making more money now than during your NBA days?
Right now, I’m making less, but (have) the opportunity that, if everything goes as scheduled and everything hits in the next three to five years, I can make way more than I was making in the NBA.
Let’s go back to health. You look great. Are you keeping up with your NBA workouts?
Oh, I’m staying in shape. I love to work out. For me, it’s hard to not work out. I know a lot of athletes who become so big after playing, but I’m the same as when I was playing.
You look the same.
I’m the same. I enjoy working out more because my body doesn’t hurt. When you play, you have to go to lift, and everything hurts. Now, I’m going to work out and nothing hurts. I feel great, I feel healthy, and I enjoy it all.
In addition to Smart Good Things, the DPA Cannes gifting suite, open through May 25, also features an African lounge in partnership with the Kenyatta International Convention Center, and other partners including beauty guru Saori Yoshimura, sake brand Takanome, The Label Saba, Umutoni jewelry, cashmere experts UAVI Republic, Petrusse, Biosalines, DeMarquet, Le Taha’a in French Polynesia, Willy Thomas Paris, Smart Good Things, Naked Sundays, Lothantique, champagne Domaine de Nuisement, Åre Water, Leamo, Fazup, Helen Ficarola, Maison Manival, Hearthstone, and Krama Heritage.