It's hard to imagine Tony Parker playing in an NBA game and not wearing a San Antonio Spurs jersey, but that image will come to fruition this season. Parker recently signed with the Charlotte Hornets after spending his first 17 NBA seasons with the Spurs. Parker was there for the franchise's prolific 2000s run, and he's provided some insight into what made the team so special.
In a heartfelt letter to San Antonio published Monday morning on The Players' Tribune, the 36-year-old attributed much of the Spurs' impressive success to the legendary Tim Duncan. He praises the team's coaching and training staffs, including Gregg Popovich, but says Duncan deserves the lion's share of credit.
"People would always ask about why the guys on our teams were so coachable—about how we always seemed to squeeze nearly the best results possible from any player who came through our organization. And how, when new guys would come here, they would seem to just sort of magically get better, you know, or transform their work ethic, or get rid of this one flaw that had been holding their game back. And I tell people, always, that this wasn't magic. I tell them that we had an elite coaching staff, an elite training staff, sure. I tell them that we obviously had a one-of-a-kind head coach in Pop. But if you want to know the thing that set us apart the most in these situations? It's Timmy, man. It really was Timmy. Simple as that."
Duncan and Parker played together from 2001-16 and won four NBA titles together. Duncan, a two-time league MVP, wasn't always noted as a prototypical leader because he was an introvert, but those associated with the Spurs have always sung his praises.
It's great to see the iconic big man getting his due.