Basketball: Four-time NBA winner Tony Parker announces retirement

Tony Parker spent 17 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs before joining the Charlotte Hornets in 2018.
Tony Parker spent 17 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs before joining the Charlotte Hornets in 2018.PHOTO: AFP

TORONTO (REUTERS) - Former San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker, a future Hall of Famer who helped the team win four NBA titles, announced his retirement from basketball on Monday (June 10).

Parker, who in 2007 became the first European to be named Most Valuable Player at an NBA Finals, spent 17 seasons with the Spurs before last year joining the Charlotte Hornets, who missed out on the playoffs with a 39-43 record.

"A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision," the 37-year-old Frenchman, a six-time NBA All-Star, told ESPN's The Undefeated website in an interview.

"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." Parker averaged 15.5 points, 5.6 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game during a glittering career.

He was drafted 28th overall by the Spurs in 2001 and together with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili went on to form one of the NBA's most dominant Big Three units.

That trio appeared in five NBA Finals, their only loss coming in 2013 when they were seconds away from clinching a fifth title when Miami pulled off a miraculous Game Six escape before prevailing in the decisive seventh game of the series.

"It's with a lot of emotion that I retire from basketball, it was an incredible journey!" Parker said on Twitter.

"Even in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would live all those unbelievable moments with the NBA and the French National Team. Thank you for everything!" Parker said that while he enjoyed his season with the Hornets, he felt that without a championship run in the near future it became hard to want to keep going.

"If I don't play for a championship, I feel like, 'Why are we playing?'" he added. "And so that's why it was very different for me mentally to focus and get motivated to play a game that I love, because I want to win something." Parker told 'The Undefeated' about his retirement on June 1 but did not want the interview to be released until Monday.

He plans to live in San Antonio after retirement but will also spend time in France as the owner and president of ASVEL, a French professional men's and women's basketball team, The Undefeated reported.