He will now sit alongside the greatest basketball legends. Tony Parker is the first Frenchman in history to enter the NBA Hall of Fame, the prestigious institution announced on Saturday. This rewards the former number 9 of the France team and the San Antonio Spurs, four-time champion, named best player in the final in 2007, six-time All-Star, who retired from the courts in June 2019.
The former leader, now 40, will officially be a member of this “basketball pantheon”, along with two other Europeans, the German Dirk Nowitzki and the Spaniard Pau Gasol, as well as the American Dwyane Wade, also inducted, at an induction ceremony scheduled for Aug. 12 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Six times “All Star”, once “MVP” of the finals
This date is added to two others that say everything about its importance. The first is 2003, when he was the first Frenchman to put on his finger the famous NBA champion ring, the most coveted trophy in his sport. Three others would follow (2005, 2007, 2014), as well as a title of “MVP” (best player) of the final in 2007 and six selections for the “All Star Game”. The other date is 2013 and the victory of the Blues at the Euro.
Born in Bruges to an American basketball player father and a Dutch model mother, Tony Parker grew up in Normandy. Trained at Insep, he signed his first professional contract with PSG Racing in 1999. Two years later, he was drafted by the Spurs in 28th place, which means that San Antonio has the flair and above all that the franchises that have chosen the first 27 players felt nothing, in a weak draft that year. The rest, we know it: the Frenchman won over a country that is still reluctant to recognize European players for all the talent that is theirs.
Membre du «Big Three»
Inducted playmaker at the end of 2001 by the famous coach of the Texas team, Gregg Popovich, “TP” collected four of the five titles gleaned in fifteen years by the Spurs, a team considered by many to be the most beautiful collective basketball machine possible. He created there with Tim Duncan and the Argentinian Manu Ginóbili a “Big Three” which gave a whole generation the desire to snort on a playground.
Since the first class of 1959, they are now 201 former players, from the North American league and elsewhere, to be members of the Hall of Fame. This crème de la crème is also made up of players, coaches, teams, referees, managers and other contributors. Only 23 members are non-Americans, including 14 Europeans from nine different countries, Croats being the most represented, four in number since the induction in 2021 of Tony Kukoc, three times champion with the Bulls of Michael Jordan in the years 1990.