Emotional Parker retires after 18 seasons

NEW YORK • Tony Parker, France's most successful basketball export and a four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champion with the San Antonio Spurs, announced his retirement on Monday.

Making the announcement in both English and French on Twitter, he admitted he "never thought I would live all those unbelievable moments with the NBA and the French national team".

"It's with a lot of emotion that I retire from basketball."

After 17 seasons with the Spurs, Parker, 37, played this season with the Charlotte Hornets, joining in free agency as he was told his role would be reduced.

Coached by former Spurs assistant coach James Borrego, the guard was an effective reserve although the Hornets fell just short in their bid to secure an Eastern Conference play-off spot.

  • NBA championship rings Tony Parker won with San Antonio.

In tandem with the now-retired Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili - under the famously demanding push of San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich - Parker formed one of the most successful trios in league history, appearing in five NBA Finals.

"We're always going to be remembered together," he told ESPN website The Undefeated of his partnership with his fellow All-Stars.

After the third of the group's championship crowns, Parker became the first European player to be named the Finals' Most Valuable Player in 2007.

He was a six-time NBA All-Star who averaged 15.5 points and 5.6 assists over his 18-season career.

He was selected No. 28 overall by the Spurs in the 2001 NBA draft and quickly established himself, at 19, as their starting point guard under Popovich.

In the interview, Parker said he was retiring, in essence, because he "can't be Tony Parker any more".

"A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision," he added. "But at the end of the day, I was like, 'If I can't play for a championship, I don't want to play basketball any more'. "

His peers were quick to pay tribute on social media, with Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul tweeting his "congrats on a HOF career", while NBA great Dwyane Wade, who also hung up his jersey in the post-season, tweeted "the game is losing another great".

NY TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2019, with the headline 'Emotional Parker retires after 18 seasons'. Print Edition | Subscribe