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Throwback- Tony Parker (Part 3-3)

After 18 long illustrious seasons in the NBA, the former Spurs guard Tony Parker announced his retirement from professional basketball.

Last updated: 17.09.2019
Throwback- Tony Parker (Part 3-3) | Sports Social Blog

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Merci Tony.

After 18 long illustrious seasons in the NBA, the former Spurs guard Tony Parker announced his retirement from professional basketball. He told ESPN’s The Undefeated “if I can’t be Tony Parker anymore and I can’t play for a championship then I don’t want to play basketball anymore.” And in all fairness Tony, you did the right thing. 

It was official when Parker announced retirement that my favorite ‘Big Three’ had come to an end. The 19-year-old guard was drafted 28th overall by the Spurs in the 2001 draft and he went onto form a Big Three with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili to bring 4 championships for the San Antonio Spurs. A 6 time NBA all-star, 4 NBA championships, 3 all NBA second teams and the first European player to win finals MVP, Parker was much more than these stats. A 19-year-old scoring guard out of France was not something the Spurs front office were looking for as they wanted a pass-first point guard to go alongside Duncan but Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich saw otherwise and invited him not once but twice to the Spurs summer-camp before the draft. Draft night arrived and the Spurs landed Tony Parker. 


Not the most athletic guard but definitely one of the fastest players in the league then, Parker would blow by opponents with his nifty moves and timed hesitations to leave opponents wobbling. He wasn’t the exact ankle-breaker but could easily surpass the defense as Parker once led the league in points in the paint and for a guard to do that in the land of giants makes it a big deal. Listed at 6’2, Parker was able to get his shot over the reach of those 7‘ft centers around the league all by his floater. By far, Tony Parker had the best floater and moreover, he was the one who mainstreamed it. So much that players like Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook went onto making it an integral part of their game. Tony’s floater was beautiful and it was precise. He would slice the defense, slash inside and let the ball float over the bigman trying to protect the rim and this worked for him every time. Think of it as Duncan’s bank shot, if the bank was open he’d make it no matter what. So basically if there was an open lane, Parker would slash and just float the ball in. Parker formed an amazing relationship with Duncan and Ginobili both on and off the court and if you look at their old playing days, their games complemented each other. Parker and Ginobili both had the advantage to slash inside, collapsing the defense leaving Duncan open for the easy shot. Efficient and reliable. 

Playing under the best head coach and power forward, some say it was easy for Parker whereas it was not. Pop always gave Tony a hard time on the court because he saw all the untapped potential he had and he had to break the barrier to achieve greatness. You didn’t have to coach Duncan, he already knew what to do but Tony had to learn it the hard way if he was going to handle the Spurs offense. And that he did. Parker then went onto become the player Pop would lean on to guide the team. Don’t get me wrong, having the best power forward of all-time in Duncan was an extremely valuable asset but after Duncan, Parker was the one who’d become the floor general. Duncan wasn’t much of a vocal leader and Parker’s score first mentality always got in the way. But Pop and the Spurs accepted him and his gameplay as Parker went onto win 4 glorious NBA championships with the Spurs and will easily go down as a Hall of Famer and a top 10 point guard in my list.

When you think of Parker, Duncan and Ginobili do come to mind. After 17 years together, all the wins and losses, being the best trio in terms of playoff history, Parker had it all. And that is why I too was at peace when he announced his retirement. Although I wish he never went to Charlotte, being a Spurs fan I wanted him to retire in a Spurs jersey but nothing can take away the legacy he has left behind for NBA fans, the people of San Antonio and the nation of France.

Thank you for giving your all to the city and the team of San Antonio. Thank you, Tony.

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