Tony Parker is calling it a career after 18 seasons in the NBA.
The 37-year-old point guard announced Monday that this past season was his last. He spent 17 years with the Spurs before joining the Hornets for one final season.
“I’m going to retire,” Parker told The Undefeated. “I decided that I’m not going to play basketball anymore.”
🇺🇸 It’s with a lot of emotion that I retire from basketball, it was an incredible journey! Even in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would live all those unbelievable moments with the NBA and the French National Team.
Thank you for everything! https://t.co/YKqTlnkG90
— Tony Parker (@tonyparker) June 10, 2019
While Parker said he feels healthy and could play for another two seasons, he felt this was the time to walk away.
“A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision,” Parker said. “But, at the end of the day, I was like, if I can’t be Tony Parker anymore and I can’t play for a championship, I don’t want to play basketball anymore.”
A native of France, Parker helped the Spurs win four NBA titles during his time in San Antonio and became part of a legendary power trio that included Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Both Duncan and Ginobili have retired, as well.
After his 17th season in San Antonio, Parker joined the Hornets and averaged 9.5 points per game in a reserve role. He said it was at the end of the 2018-19 season that he came to the decision.
Despite saying throughout his career that he wanted to play for 20 seasons, joining the Hornets changed Parker’s perspective.
“For 17 years, every year that I started with the Spurs, I really thought that we had a good chance to win the championship,” Parker said. “And so it was very weird to arrive to a team and you’re like, ‘There is no way we’re going to win the championship.’ And even if I had a great time — and the Charlotte players, they were great with me and they were great guys — at the end of the day I play basketball to win something, and it’s been like that with the [French] national team when we try to compete for a gold medal or with the Spurs to win a championship.
“And if I don’t play for a championship, I feel like, why are we playing? And so that’s why it was very different for me mentally to focus and get motivated to play a game that I love, because I want to win something.”
A six-time All-Star, Parker ends his career with averages of 15.5 points, 5.6 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.
He was selected 28th overall in the 2001 NBA draft by the Spurs and quickly helped the team capture its second NBA title in 2003 under coach Gregg Popovich. Along with Ginobili and Duncan, San Antonio went on to capture three more titles in 2005, 2007 and 2014.
Now that he won’t have to worry about NBA practices and games, Parker said he was going to stay in San Antonio, which he considers home, and travel more to France and other parts of the world.
He added he now will be able to focus more on his men and women’s teams in France, along with the opening of an international academy he founded.
When asked why he didn’t have a farewell tour like Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade, Parker said it was because he already said goodbye to the Spurs.
“It was kind of different because I was in there with Charlotte, so I didn’t feel like the need of having a goodbye,” he said. “For me, the goodbye will be when my jersey will be retired [in San Antonio] or I make the Hall of Fame.”