Joyeux Anniversaire à Toi: Happy Birthday, Tony Parker!

It’s been too long since anybody in the NBA community has brought up the name Tony Parker. The main reason may be that he retired from the game after last season and wasn’t seen in attendance at many games this year. Regardless, here’s a whole article dedicated to the birthday boy.

On May 17, 1982, a boy by the name of William Anthony Parker Jr. was born in Bruges, Belgium. 19 years later, he was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the 28th pick in the 2001 draft.

He would start 72 games during his rookie season as a 19-year-old. And the team would make a brief run to the postseason.

As a matter of fact, for the 17 years that Parker played for San Antonio, the team never missed the playoffs and wound up winning four rings with him starting. They made five trips to the finals with him as the starter, proving his amazing longevity.

Parker was selected to six All-Star games and four All-NBA teams during his playing days. He was the Finals MVP when the team swept LeBron’s young Cavs during the 2006-07 season. Like any other talented guard, he had his big nights.

He helped the Spurs break out of an 0-3 start to the year in the fourth game of the season, a road contest with the TWolves. In a game that took two overtimes to decide the winner, Parker topped 50 points for the first time in his career. He finished with 55 points (22-36 FG), while adding seven boards and 10 assists.

Parker averaged 20+ points per game on just two occasions, but he was always an effective scorer. Quality over quantity is the case when talking about his game. He shot 49% from the floor for his career, including four seasons shooting it 50% or better. An impressive feat for a guard.

His signature shot was a mid-range jumper behind a screen. Playing with Tim Duncan for most of his career meant he would have plenty of open shots to knock down. The two of them and Manu Ginobili formed the most successful trio in terms of regular season and playoff wins in NBA history.

The biggest bummer about Tony Parker’s playing career though, is that it did not end in San Antonio. He joined the Charlotte Hornets in free agency in the summer of 2018 because the Spurs did not offer him a playing contract. He believed he had more left.

It was not an impressive season by any means for Parker, who averaged around 10 points and four assists off the bench for his new club. But it is clear that whatever he did to mentor Devonte Graham has worked. Devonte went off for Charlotte this year.

It is only a matter of time before the Spurs retire his number 9 jersey. And before the NBA gives him a call in a few years for the Hall of Fame. It is going to be a great day when his jersey heads to the rafters and he gives that speech in Springfield, MA.

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