At this point, everything Tony Parker accomplishes in his basketball career is just gravy. Parker is, and has been incredible as a playmaking point guard.
Parker has always shown appreciation for his fans, and that was on display after France won the gold medal. After winning the championship with his French teammates, he went into the stands to celebrate with fans.
I’ve always appreciated this characteristic about him. I live in San Antonio and more than any athlete I can remember, he talks about winning for the fans. Parker always mentions the purpose and why they play and who they play for. It’s refreshing and he stands out among all pro athletes for that reason.
Manu Ginobili remains the most beloved San Antonio Spur of all-time, even though David Robinson, Tim Duncan and George Gervin have been better statistically. But, Parker is closing in on Ginobili more and more every season.
Parker’s gutty performances over the past few seasons are the main reason the Spurs have stayed relevant and eventually made another NBA Finals appearance last season.
From now on, I won’t put anything past him. I believe in Tony Parker. I believe he can lead the Spurs to another championship and that isn’t easy to say after what happened in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, when Greg Popovich pulled Duncan with the Spurs up five points and 23 seconds to play.
Everyone in San Antonio is worried about him getting hurt and hopefully Pops will understand how important it is to keep Parker rested. Parker needs to play sporadically, periodically, whatever way that maintains his ability to be ready for the playoffs.
If Duncan can dial up numbers like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone did at 37 years old and Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard can bring their levels up, this San Antonio Spurs team will have a chance in the upcoming NBA season. It all comes down to staying healthy.
As for Parker, his spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame is secure (I covered this issue a couple of NBA seasons ago). This year’s European championship only solidified it.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com