Looks like Tony Parker walked into Saturday's Game 3 of the Western Conference finals in Memphis with an empty stomach.
As first reported by the Houston Chronicle, Parker attempted to dine at the popular Memphis establishment Restaurant Iris on Friday night. Arriving without a reservation, Parker was denied service.
But he's Tony Parker, NBA point guard. There has to be room for him somewhere, right? Not in Memphis. Parker was turned away from the restaurant, a move which was confirmed by the establishment's proprietor, Kelly English on Twitter:
Kelly English @kelly_english
Confirmed MT @MemphisACP: Tony Parker tried to eat dinner @RestaurantIris and was denied service by @kelly_english. Can you confirm or deny?2013-5-25 02:59:56
Before we go too far in accusing Restaurant Iris ownership of mind-games chicanery to help out the hometown Grizzlies, that doesn't seem to be the case. English expanded on his reasoning for sending Parker away, stating that the restaurant was booked and plays no favorites with its patrons:
Kelly English @kelly_english
We have a thirteen table restaurant. There have been times I couldn't get my wife or parents in. I can't create a table, Tony Parker or not.2013-5-25 03:21:56
On Sunday, Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears reported that Tony Parker says the story is a hoax.
Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpearsESPN
Tony Parker says the story about him being denied a dinner reservation at a Memphis restaurant Friday was a hoax.2013-5-26 16:17:15
However, seeing that the situation had escalated into a national story—because, of course it would—Restaurant Iris' official website released a statement on the incident Saturday morning. Here is a snippet of that statement:
At Restaurant Iris we pride ourselves on the service we provide to our guests. From the moment you make a reservation, to when you walk out of our door, it’s our job to ensure you experience both incredible food and service.
That experience begins with a reservation. Due to the size of our restaurant, there is currently a two week delay for a weekend reservation. We would not cancel a reservation that a guest made-and waited two weeks for- in order to make room for someone else without a reservation- celebrity or not. We respect our guests and their time, and appreciate their choice to dine with us.
Even if this is merely an "everyone plays by the same rules" situation, it would at least be interesting to see what would happen if Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph rolled through. Restaurant Iris' public statement did finish with the Grizzlies' season-long slogan, #gritgrind, after all.
Plus, it would be understandable if all Memphis businesses did what they could to hinder Parker...because the Grizzlies sure haven't done so.
Parker is averaging 20.3 points and 10.7 assists through the first three games of the series, carving up the Grizzlies' vaunted defense by running through a barrage of never-ending pick-and-rolls. The 31-year-old guard had 18 assists in the Spurs' Game 2 victory and dropped 26 points in Game 3 to put Memphis in a 3-0 series hole.
Though the Grizzlies came back from a similar deficit against the Clippers in Round 1, San Antonio seems to be carrying all the momentum and could finish off Memphis with one more victory.
Game 4 is set for 9 p.m. ET Tuesday at FedExForum. Hopefully by then Parker has found a nice McDonald's willing to serve him or something.
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