“There, I went Wow! “: Tony Parker first Frenchman in the NBA Hall of Fame

“There, I went Wow!  “: Tony Parker first Frenchman in the NBA Hall of Fame

It’s official since April 1st. Tony Parker enters the Hall of Fame, the NBA hall of fame. The quadruple NBA champion and best French player in history received his entry ticket this Saturday in Houston, where he made a round trip. It hasn’t been a secret for several weeks now, but now it’s sure and certain. Tony Parker will have his napkin ring among the greatest basketball players of all time on August 12 in Springfield (Massachusetts) after his official induction.

He will enter the Hall of Fame with other legends of his sport: the German Dirk Nowitzki, the Spaniard Pau Gasol and the American Dwyane Wade. Parker will enter Hall with his former San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, a guest coach. “It’s crazy, rejoiced Parker at the microphone of Sweek, the channel which broadcasts Euroleague matches and those of his club, Asvel. I find it hard to realize. I am both moved and nostalgic. Seeing us together with Dick, Paul, Dwyane: in my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined that. »

The dream of the little boy born in Belgium to an American father and a Dutch mother and who grew up in Normandy, was to play in the NBA. Not to go that high. “However, it is always me who says that you have to dream big. But I thought I was playing in the NBA and being a good player. How could I imagine that I would be four times NBA champion, first European elected MVP of the finals and now enter the pantheon of basketball? Never, I could have imagined. »

He said again on ESPN this Saturday: “When you tell someone your dream and they don’t laugh at you, it’s because you’re not dreaming big enough. When I told my dream, they all laughed at me. I was told: ”you are too small, you are too thin. You’ll never get to play in the NBA. And now I’m laughing because I’m going to enter the Hall of Fame! »

Since the first class of 1959, 201 former players, from the North American league and beyond, have been members of the Hall of Fame, which also includes players, coaches, teams, referees, managers and other contributors. Only 23 are non-Americans, including 14 Europeans from nine different countries. The Croats being the most represented: they are four since the induction of Tony Kukoc in 2021, three times crowned with the Bulls of Michael Jordan in the 1990s.

“I hope the whole French mafia will be there on August 12”

To enter, a player must be retired for at least three years. Parker took his in 2019. “The Hall of Fame called my relatives to let them know that soon they would tell me if I was taken or not. On March 27, I waited for the big boss of the USA Basket Hall of Fame. He said to me: ”Tony, you are admitted”. There, I went ”wow!”. It’s hard to put into words what I felt. I thought of all those thanks to whom I arrived there. I hope that the whole “French Mafia” will be there on August 12 for the induction. »

Parker is obviously the first Frenchman to enter the NBA Hall. It will be for a long time. “I have always been proud to represent France, on all occasions,” he said. It was a motivation for me to show the Americans that the French also play basketball. If I can inspire a whole generation of French basketball players, I’m proud. »


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