The NBA had already seen two of its key stars hang up the sneakers following the 2018-19 campaign. And now, Tony Parker is retiring from the NBA as well.
Parker was the 28th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. And he spent the first 17 years of his career with the San Antonio Spurs. During his time in San Antonio, the Spurs were a perennial playoff contender.
Armed with the ability to hit the mid-range jumper at an efficient rate, Parker was a difficult cover on a nightly basis. Parker helped spearhead the Spurs to four championships during his tenure with the team (2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014). Parker, who’s considered as one of the best European players of all time, will retire from the NBA as a six-time All-Star.
Additionally, he was on four All-NBA teams, including three Second Team selections. Furthermore, Parker averaged 24.5 points per contest on 56.8 percent shooting from the field and 57.1 percent from downtown in the 2007 NBA Finals. As a result, the Spurs swept the Cleveland Cavaliers in that Finals series. And as a shock to no one, Parker won the Finals MVP.
A little over a year ago, Parker spoke about his desire to play in the NBA for 20 seasons with the Spurs. However, the Spurs didn’t bring him back in free agency and he signed with the Charlotte Hornets. During his lone season in Charlotte, he compiled averages of 9.5 points per contest. This marked just the third time in his 18-year career that Parker failed to average in double digits during a season.
In addition to that, his 3.7 assists per contest was the second-lowest output in this category of his career. Parker had to this to say about his decision to retire from the NBA
“A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision,” Parker said, per The Undefeated. “But, at the end of the day, I was like, if I can’t be Tony Parker anymore and I can’t play for a championship, I don’t want to play basketball anymore.”
Additionally, Parker also mentioned that he felt like the Spurs had a chance to win the title in each of his 17 years. But with the Hornets, he knew that wouldn’t be the case. Being that the Hornets aren’t close to competing for a title, he made the right decision to retire from the NBA.
Overall, Parker will retire from NBA ranked 17th all-time in assists with 7,036. On top of that, he trails only Nowitzki and Tim Duncan in games played among non-US born players (1,254). Furthermore, with Parker now exiting the NBA, all the members of the Spur’s Big 3 (Parker, Duncan and Manu Ginobili) are officially retired.
Although Parker has retired from the NBA, he will be forever remembered as a key member of those Spurs’ title teams.