Netflix released a documentary about France’s most accomplished athlete. “The Final Shot” is an predominantly positive look at Tony Parker’s life, career, and dedication to his homeland.
The doc was originally geared toward French-speaking audiences so all of the interviews have been overdubbed in English (unfortunately not by the original interviewees). Admittedly, it is a little strange to hear Tony, Boris Diaw, and Nando de Colo share their words through other voices.
There are many reasons to dedicate an hour and thirty-eight minutes of your day to sitting in front of the TV on a non-Spurs game day, but here are five:
It’s Tony Parker and he played for the Spurs
For anyone on this site, the rest is just semantics. But the truth is, most shows or film dedicated “Spurs” or “Spurs Championship” will highlight the Big 3 as a whole or focus more on Tim Duncan. Duncan, Manu, Pop, David Robinson, even Bruce Bowen make appearances, but this is all about Tony, which I imagine most fans can agree there has not been enough of.
There is footage of Parker’s earliest days show the instinctual talent that would transcend from a French teenager into an NBA All-Star and multi-champion. His skills were unparalleled when he was playing in a smaller market. And considering his height and baby face at thirteen, some of the footage is just downright cute. My wife even commented how great he was from the get-go.
Tony’s significance from a French perspective
As mentioned, the doc is a French production and highlights his achievements (many, many achievements) as a French player, owner, and entrepreneur. On a worldwide scale, his significance to the Spurs and NBA overall is clear. This film offers a direct glimpse through footage and interviews with French players and coaches and newscasts just to how significant Parker is and was over the last two decades. He’s truly a national hero.
The documentary is not a puff piece, but does not dwell in the negative
From the onset, there is also mention from those interviewed that Parker had a bit of an ego. His confidence is interpreted by some as arrogance and others as justified based on his unique talents. The film makes no attempt to quell the statements, nor does it steep its view of Parker in that take, setting an honest tone whose presentation draws the viewer in closer to Parker throughout the film.
As is is well known, Tony was married to a Hollywood starlet, and they divorced. Any filmmaker respecting Parker’s current life could have ignored and bypassed the relationship entirely. By the same token, the film could have been given a TMZ treatment and feel. Longoria’s presence is strictly through archival footage, yet it is tastefully done. There is no bashing nor is there an attempt to invalidate any portion of Parker’s life. Tony’s wife Axelle even shares her feelings about marrying an international famous man who had a previous headline-making marriage as part of her share.
There are multiple interviews with French players, Spurs players and staff, and Parker’s family. There’s even some words from Parker’s hero Michael Jordan. But Kobe Bryant actually sat on a couch and spoke directly and fervently about his San Antonio rival. Bryant’s pieces offer a different perspective because they never played together. The respect and admiration is clear, as is Kobe’s humor and gentle nature.
Considering it’s been less than a year since the world lost Bryant, this brief glance is a welcome addition to the film. And to be honest, since the film is not about Bryant, his presence, which could never be subtle, is more comforting than a piece focused solely on him and his passing.
It should be noted “The Final Shot” was appropriately dedicated to Kobe Bryant in a mention just before the closing credits.
“The Final Shot” is well worth a viewing - by Spurs fans, basketball fans, sports fans, or fans of good filmmaking.
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