In the spirit of the holiday season (and in anticipation of the Rio Olympics in 2016), Spurs forward Boris Diaw tweeted out a link to an article he wrote called 'Destins Croises', or 'Common Destinies'. The post is a tribute to how far the two have come, but also explains the importance of Tony's role in his decision to come to San Antonio from Charlotte, a choice that greatly benefited both the Spurs and Boris.
Tony is like a brother to me.
We met for the first time during a basketball screening activity for kids born in 1982.
Tony was already playing with guys born in 1980. And I had heard about him being a genius, a legend… He was already highly ambitious and knew he was going to play in the NBA. As for me, I was a little more modest about my chances to make it, but I clearly wanted to play pro basketball.
So we started playing together when we were 15 or 16 in INSEP (National Institute for Sports and Physical Education) and we’ve played together ever since: French national youth teams, French national senior team and in San Antonio in the NBA.
After my stint in Charlotte, I was mainly looking at two teams: the Boston Celtics, who were trying to win another championship back then, and the San Antonio Spurs. Having my best friend in the team was a major factor during the process. He could tell me how things work in here, the spirit of team, of the players.
When a team starts recruiting you, they want to impress you. They tell you the atmosphere is perfect, but that’s actually not always the truth. Having somebody like Tony in the team obviously helped me a lot to decide, because he knows me so well. And being able to play with my best friend clearly was the key factor.
Now, we are lucky enough to live close to each other in San Antonio. Which helps in order to keep this friendship that started in INSEP alive.
But he is a father now, so it is a little bit harder.
However, we spend half the year on the road in the NBA. So these are great occasions to try some new restaurants, putting the world to rights. We have our favorite spots like this french restaurant in Chicago… But I can’t say much.
With a little hindsight, we are amazingly lucky to be able to share this together, having won many titles, with the French national team or with the Spurs, but there is one thing left which would allow us to end our careers on a high : The Olympics in Rio.
The idea of the two ending their careers on the high that would be an Olympic gold medal seems a bit premature for two guys with time left on their contracts here in San Antonio, but I'll chalk that up to a bit of poetic license on Boris' part.
Either way Boris and Tony have accomplished a great deal already in their basketball careers, as well as shared plenty of moments off the court, and they're not done yet. Who's to say what 2016 has in store.