Tony Parker became the 10th player in Spurs franchise history to have his jersey retired Monday night, during an emotional ceremony.
Parker, who remains involved in basketball during retirement, came to San Antonio as a 19-year-old and grew to become a fan favorite while winning four NBA titles.
Per The AP:
“It was an honor to play for you guys, to play together,” Parker said. “You have no idea how much impact you two had in my life. You inspire me every day.”
Parker, Duncan and Ginobili teamed to win four of the franchise’s five NBA championships and are the winningest trio in league history with 541 wins.
“He grew so quickly,” Duncan said. “I had no idea that this kid would be my point guard, the point guard that I loved to play with for the rest of my career.”
Parker had a self-described “horrible” first workout with the Spurs prior to the 2001 NBA draft that drew the ire of San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. A second workout convince Popovich and the Spurs to take a chance on the French point guard and he rewarded them by earning NBA Finals MVP in 2007, six All-Star selections and becoming the franchise’s leader in assists (6,829).
“I’ve been the luckiest guy in the world to see you from age 19 to this day,” Popovich said. “So, it’s from a young kid who I just gave the ball to and said, ‘Ok, you’re gonna run the show,’ and pretty soon we’re going to be there when you enter the Hall of Fame.”