After arriving to the team as the top overall pick in 1997, Tim Duncan soon helped the San Antonio Spurs capture their first in a series of multiple championships. However, he had help from several other international stars along the way in Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. Even so, Duncan wasn’t originally convinced that a young Tony Parker would help the Spurs capture any titles after the San Antonio chose the guard via the NBA Draft.
Tony Parker had to prove Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich wrong
It’s been a few seasons since Tony Parker has laced up his sneakers for the NBA, but he’s enjoying new pursuits. That includes horse racing and releasing his new book, “Tony Parker: Beyond All My Dreams.” In the book, he recalls how he had some major doubters ahead of his Spurs career.
Parker says in the new book:
The most important thing for me was showing Pop and Duncan that I deserved to be there. I was aware of Duncan’s doubts. When the Spurs drafted me, he said, ‘But why are we drafting a European point guard? We’ll never win a title with a European point guard.’
Parker was the Spurs’ No. 28 pick in the 2001 NBA Draft out of France. He’d had college offers from the likes of UCLA and Georgia Tech, but opted to continue playing in France with Paris Basket Racing. Reportedly, Parker had an early audition for coach Gregg Popovich too, but that didn’t go so well. Pop was ready to send the guard home after 10 minutes.
Even so, the team took a gamble on Tony Parker, bringing him to a roster that included future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan and an Argentine-Italian player named Manu Ginobili.
Parker’s Career Included Four Titles, All-Star Appearances
The San Antonio Spurs’ gamble certainly paid off in drafting the French point guard. Parker initially played as a backup but was able to achieve All-Rookie First Team. He’d go on to achieve six All-Star appearances and help the Spurs in winning four NBA Championships. In 2007, he was named the NBA Finals MVP for his strong play during the series.
Parker ended up playing for 18 seasons in the league, with his final stint one season as a reserve for the Charlotte Hornets. However, his 17 seasons in San Antonio are easily what he’s most known for. It’s clear that Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan’s early opinions of the young point guard played a major part in motivating him to become one of the greats in Spurs history!