Position: Point guard / shooting guard
Date of Birth: 17/12/71
Place of birth: Cholet
No doubt Antoine was the best French player in history. Of course, this was before knowing how many NBA rings Tony Parker will end-up with. Rigaudeau won the Euroleague (in 1998), ULEB Cup (in 2001), two Lega and three Italian Cups with Virtus Bologna. That’s why, in “Basket City”, people started to call him “Le Roi”.
After a frustrating NBA experience with the Mavericks (11 games, 1,5 ppg shooting 22%), Antoine went to Valencia where his nickname was rapidly translated to “El Rey”. He was raised 200 meters away from the gym of Cholet, where he started his professional career at the age of 16.
Rigaudeau was five times elected French league MVP, the first one before he even turned 19, in 1990. He moved to Pau-Orthez in the summer of 1995 and a brilliant 1995-96 Euroleague season (21.6 ppg and… 62 pts in two games vs Virtus Bologna) definitely opened the doors to the top European clubs for him.
Antoine won a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics where he saved France in the first round by scoring 28 points in the last 12 minutes against China. He took a controversial retirement from the national team two months before EuroBasket 2001 because of a conflict with French Federation.
He experienced a possible career ending injury in 2004 (Achilles tendon) but had enjoyed a strong come back with Valencia by the end of the 2004-05 season. Eventually he decided to come back to the national team because he appreciated Claude Bergeaud who was the coach at the time and shared his ethics and perception of team spirit.
His duo with Tony Parker in the back-court is one of the reasons that gave hope to people in France during EuroBasket 2005. He was a key factor in France’s run for a bronze medal, although he missed two important free-throws during the last 40 seconds of the semi-finals versus Greece. France was leading by 7 with 40 seconds to go and lost by one, on a deadly Diamantidis buzzer beater.
Antoine now lives in Valencia as his first experience since being the Vice President of Paris-Levallois was not very successful. He also ran for the head coaching job in 2007, but his lack of experience prevented him from getting the job.