On Nov. 11, the final member of the Spurs’ Big Three, William Anthony Parker Jr., better known as Tony Parker, had his number nine jersey hung in the Spurs’ rafters. Parker’s retirement took place at the AT&T Center, where coach Gregg Popovich and teammates Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and David Robinson reminisced about what it was like to play with Parker, which brought many Spurs fans to tears.
Parker’s career was one for the ages. He earned four NBA Championship rings, six All-Star appearances, a Finals MVP and multiple All-NBA Second Team selections, just for his domestic career. Parker played in the EuroBasket league, and he medaled four times and won the European player of the year on two different occasions. Parker’s international and domestic success makes him a potential hall of famer with a 93.86% chance that he will be inaugurated.
Parker earned four rings in his 17-year career with the Spurs, which is impressive because the elite Spurs organization, which is considered an elite organization, has only won five championships. During Parker’s career with the Spurs, he had so much playoff success playing with the Big Three that he, Duncan and Ginobili have the highest total amount of playoff wins between three players. Parker was not just along for the ride, either. During the 2007 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, he won the NBA finals MVP after averaging 24.5 points, five rebounds and 3.3 assists, leading his team in scoring and powering them to a clean 4-0 sweep over the Cavs.
Parker was a dynamic player in all areas of his game, but he used his speed to blow past defenders and get easy transition points. Parker had excellent court vision, which allowed him to obtain the 17th most assists in the league. However, it would be a crime to not mention his patented move, the teardrop, which is his reedition of a modern-day floater. This move, coupled with his speed, is what made Kyrie Irving say that at one time, Parker was the toughest player he has ever had to guard. Parker’s career was not all highlights and championships, but with the help of Popovich’s supportive conversation, he would eventually become a household name that many players dreaded playing against.
During Parker’s later years on the team, he played a more supportive role by coming off the bench, and he also helped with coaching the future Spurs, especially the Spurs’ current starting point guard, Dejounte Murray. Parker was involved in four charities that gave back to the San Antonio community he considers his second home. The Spurs organization was lucky to have such an amazing player like Parker, and his legacy will live on through the banners he has given us and his number nine jersey in the rafters.