Tony Parker, the man that had worn a Spurs uniform for the first seventeen years of his NBA career, has agreed to join the Charlotte Hornets on a 2-year, $10 million deal. This is tragic news for Spurs fans as Tony Parker has long been one of the cornerstones of the franchise. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and himself made up the “Big Three” in San Antonio from 2002-2016, winning four NBA championships together and creating one of the most fundamentally sound basketball teams in recent memory.
Tony Parker has agreed to a 2-year, $10 million deal with the Hornets. The Spurs won’t look the same without #9. . . . . . #tonyparker #charlotte #hornets #charlottehornets #sanantonio #sanantoniotx #spurs #spursnation #sanantoniospurs #tonyparker9 #freeagency #2018freeagency #freeagency2018 #sportsnews #nba #basketball #sports #sportsvolt MS
It seems necessary to take time and reflect on what TP meant to the Spurs organization and its fans nationwide:
The Early Years (2003-2005):
With the 28th pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, the Spurs took a chance on Tony Parker from France, a decision they surely wouldn’t regret:
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) June 18, 2018
Parker showed his promise from the get-go, posting 9.2 points and 4.3 assists per game in his rookie season to earn him NBA All-Rookie First Team honors. He started as the backup point guard to begin the year before receiving the starting role rather quickly, appearing in the starting five in 72 of his 77 games played.
It wasn’t until 2003 that Parker had his first title, defeating Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets in six games to bring a championship to San Antonio. This was followed by another title in 2005 thanks in no small part to Parker’s 17.2 points per game in the postseason to beat the Detroit Pistons.
Hitting His Stride (2006-2014):
Tony Parker didn’t quite reach “star” status until 2006 when he was named to his first NBA All-Star team. He averaged a career-high 18.1 points to go along with 5.8 dimes. 2007 was even better for the Frenchman, earning All-Star honors for the second consecutive season and winning his third NBA Championship in the last five years. Parker averaged 20.8 points that postseason, a feat that played a part in him being named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.
He reached his peak in 2009 when he dropped a whopping 22 points and 6.9 assists a game in regular season play, both of which were career-highs at the time that got him a place on the All-NBA Third Team
Skipping ahead to 2012, TP9 had established himself as a premier point guard in the league. He was named to the All-NBA Second Team three years in a row (2012-2014), getting his assists averages over the seven-mark while continuing to maintain high scoring output. His last championship would come in 2014 when the Parker and the rest of the Big 3 shocked the LeBron James and the Heat to add another ring to his collection.
Wrapping It Up (2015-2018):
While he was widely considered a top point guard in the NBA for many years, you can’t be dominant forever. It is inevitable that with old age, father-time will eventually catch up with you. In 2015, his numbers began to drop as he averaged under 15 PPG in the first time since 2004, and they only decreased by the year until it was 2018 and Parker decided it was time for a change.
There were no hard feelings between the Spurs and Parker, who will be eternally grateful the time he spent with the city of San Antonio. Even coaching legend Gregg Popovich, who rarely shows any emotion, penned a heartfelt letter to Parker thanking him for his service to the team:
Tony Parker will leave San Antonio knowing he changed the organization for the better. He was loyal to the Spurs for almost two decades before his departure which is commendable in itself. He will look to salvage whatever amount of time he has left in the league as a member of a new team, looking for a fresh start as the 36-year-old begins his 18th season.
Featured Image Via Wikimedia Commons