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French NBA star Tony Parker buys Isère ski station

Franco-American NBA basketball star Tony Parker has bought a majority stake in a ski station company in Isère, after over a year of negotiations with local authorities over his plans for the site.

The sports star - who was born in Belgium, raised in France, and holds dual Franco-American nationality - confirmed this week that he had bought a 76.9% majority stake of SEVLC (la société d'équipement de Villard-de-Lans et de Corrençon-en-Vercors).

The previous, long-time owners were the brothers Victor and Daniel Huillier - aged 89 and 91 respectively.

Despite fear from locals, Mr Parker has said that he has no plans to turn the site into “Hollywood”, and wants to “give back” the site to France.

He will largely invest in developing and improving the site's cable car ski lifts, according to reports.

He said: “It is an opportunity. I want to mark history; it’s a human adventure.”

Mr Parker has never skied himself due to NBA (American National Basketball Association) contract constraints, but his wife and family “love it”, he said.

He added: “It will not become a ‘mega-station’. Keeping a family spirit is at the forefront of our projects.”

The star has teamed up with a local team, including two partners: Guillaume Ruel, assistant to the mayor of Corrençon-en-Vercors, who will become director of the station development; and Sébastien Giraud, a restaurateur from Villard-de-Lans who will look after the station staff.

The project will also aim to develop the summertime activities of the mountain station.

Mr Parker played for two years in the French basketball league, before entering the NBA in 2001. He now plays for the Charlotte Hornets, and sometimes also for ASVEL Basket in France.

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