The San Antonio Spurs are not going to wait long to pay tribute to Tony Parker.
As the Spurs announced on Friday, the franchise will do right by the greatest point guard in their franchise’s history when they retire his No. 9 jersey when San Antonio hosts the Memphis Grizzlies at AT&T Center on November 11.
Parker will become just the tenth player in franchise history to have his jersey retired by the team. His former teammates, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, also had their jerseys retired by the Spurs in recent seasons following their own decisions to retire
Parker Didn’t Spend His Entire Career With Spurs
The 37-year-old Parker recently announced his retirement following the conclusion of the 2018-19 season — his lone season spent out of a Spurs jersey. Parker made the decision to sign with the Charlotte Hornets during the 2018 offseason despite having an opportunity at returning to San Antonio — and finishing his career with the Spurs.
The former Finals MVP ultimately decided to bolt the Spurs for the Hornets for the opportunity at receiving more playing time. During his final season in the NBA, Parker concluded his 18-year career as he averaged 9.5 points and 3.7 assists in just 17.9 minutes per game. It was the least amount of playing time he had ever seen in his career, even lower than the 19.5 minutes per game he averaged in his final season with the Spurs in the 2017-18 season.
Prior to the start of his first and lone season with the Hornets, Parker explained why he departed San Antonio for Charlotte, during an interview on the team’s official website.
“I just wanted to do something different, experience something new. I’ve been with the Spurs for a long time – 17 years. I kind of figured it was going to be Manu (Ginobili’s) last year and for me, I just wanted to – I know it sounds simple – but I just wanted to see something else – go to the East Coast and go do something else in the NBA. I did everything I wanted to accomplish with the Spurs. They’ve been amazing to me, but I just felt it was time to go another direction.
Despite his departure, there is no shortage of love for Parker in San Antonio.
Parker Held Onto the Starting Job — for 17 Years
Parker was originally drafted by the Spurs as a teenager from France during the 2001 NBA Draft. He quickly became the starting point guard for a veteran team featuring the likes of Duncan, David Robinson and Steve Smith.
He wouldn’t relinquish the starting point guard job until 16 years later, when he allowed young point guard Dejounte Murray take the reins for the Spurs in the middle of the 2017-18 season.
The six-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA selection ended his Spurs career as the all-time leader in assists while ranking second in games played and minutes played, behind Duncan. He also ranks fourth on the franchise list for points and is the only Spur outside of Duncan and Kawhi Leonard to win a Finals MVP award, winning the honor during San Antonio’s four-game sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2007 NBA Finals.
Parker averaged 24.5 points on an astounding 56.8 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from beyond the arc during that series, leading all players in all three categories.
As a member of four championship teams and five total NBA Finals appearances, Parker is one of the biggest fan favorites in Spurs history.