Legendary French basketball player Tony Parker added on Saturday August 12th another exceptional achievement to a glittering sports career. It’s official. Tony Parker is in the Hall of Fame. The former point guard, who has a cabinet full of trophies won playing in the NBA and on the national French team, has become the first French player to be inducted into basketball’s Hall of Fame. Tony Parker represented the San Antonio Spurs as the first speaker in tonight’s National Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony. After decades of living in the US Parker’s speech was peppered with Americanisms, even when speaking in his native tongue.
Topics of conversation included Parker’s feelings about being recognized with such an honour and being inducted alongside friends and former rivals such as Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki.
He also reflected on his long career, 17 seasons with the Spurs from his first professional contract at Paris club PSG to winning four NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs in Texas, and his unique relationship with coach Gregg Popovich.
After an uneven beginning to his NBA career, Parker found his footing and eventually became to French basketball what his idol, Michael Jordan, meant to the American game. In 2007, at the age of 25, Parker became the first European player named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals. He ended his career with six All-Star berths and four All-NBA nods. He also led France to a gold medal at the 2013 FIBA World champions, the country’s first — and to date only — first-place finish in international competition. . He was also a two-time FIBA Europe Player of the Year (2013, 2014). Saturday represented the culmination of Parker’s life’s work.
“I wanted to dream big,” Parker said. “When you say your dream to somebody and they are not laughing at you — you are not dreaming big enough.”
Legendary French basketball player Tony Parker
If Saturday showed anything, it is that sometimes dreaming big pays off. Popovich took his turn on the dais, looked around and considered his newfound place in basketball immortality.
“For me, it’s unimaginable,” Popovich said.
For Spurs fans who spent 14 seasons watching Little Frenchy, a guy from Argentina, a swimmer from the Virgin Islands and their coach make history together, what happened Saturday was something like that — with a twist.
For one final night, it was a chance to celebrate those who gave an entire city a chance to imagine the unimaginable. Parker already has his No. 9 retired alongside Tim Duncan’s No. 21 and Manu Ginobili’s No. 20 in the Frost Bank Center’s rafters. Now, he’ll be joining his two long-time teammates and coach Popovich on the biggest stage in basketball forever.