02/04/2009 at 11:00 AM EST
In these hard economic times, it's never too early to begin thinking about your retirement.
Take Tony Parker, for example, age 26.
The NBA All-Star has just bought himself a nice little retirement
package: a French basketball team. In an interview aired on France's Infosport cable network, Parker announced his purchase of the second largest share of ASVEL, France's most titled professional basketball team, and he will, he says, begin serving immediately as the club's Director of Operations.
Not to mention long-range plans to return to his native country with wife Eva Longoria
"Why not, why not ?" Parker answered, when asked if playing for the
French club itself was in his plans. "When I'm 36, 37 years old, who knows how my NBA will go. Why not play one more farewell year in France afterwards? I've raised the subject with Eva, and she has nothing against living in France."
The couple married in Paris
in July, 2007.
Parker also described his intention to expand his current Tony Parker Basketball Clinic operations around ASVEL's home base in Villeurbane, a Lyons suburb, citing another celebrity athlete as model. "I'd like to center them as a training center in Lyons, something like David Beckham
's [soccer program]."
Parker, whose contract with San Antonio runs until 2011, said he has long planned to "invest in a club, to take part in one after my playing days."