9 signature moments from Tony Parker's career
Legendary Spurs guard delivered big performances during season and playoffs
SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg tweeted that Nov. 9 would be Tony Parker Day in the city, but the celebration commences Monday with the Spurs retiring the future Hall of Famer’s No. 9 jersey when the team hosts the Memphis Grizzlies at the AT&T Center (7:30 ET, League Pass).
A four-time NBA champion, Parker announced his retirement back in June, after a 17-year NBA career.
The team announced that fans attending Monday’s game will receive an exclusive commemorative Tony Parker T-shirt and other goodies. Attendees can also take advantage of a 3-D photobooth, view replica banners of Parker’s retired jersey and photographs from throughout his career as well as the four NBA titles the team won with him.
Here, we take a look at nine signature moments for No. 9 in chronological order:
1. Games 1 & 2, 2004 West semis (May 2-5, 2004)
Lakers guard Gary Payton — still considered one of the best defensive point guards in the NBA — faced a young and hungry 21-year-old Parker, who obliterated the veteran in back-to-back showings to start that series. Parker opened the series by scoring 20 points to lead the Spurs to a Game 1 victory, followed by a 30-point night in Game 2. Parker outscored Payton 50-11 in the first two games of the series. But Payton would savor the last laugh, as Los Angeles ramped up the defense on Parker, holding him to 12.5 ppg the rest of the series. The Lakers won the series in Game 6, thanks in large part because of Derek Fisher’s Game 5 buzzer-beater.
2. The 2007 Finals (June 7-14, 2007)
Having earned a reputation as one of the league’s best scoring guards in addition to nabbing his second consecutive All-Star nod, Parker faced off against a 22-year-old LeBron James making his first Finals appearance. James and the Cavaliers didn’t stand a chance. Seemingly unstoppable at this point, Parker averaged 24.5 ppg and 5.0 apg and shot 57.1% as San Antonio swept Cleveland. He led all players in scoring in two of the four Finals games and, in helping San Antonio to its fourth championship, became the first Spur not named Tim Duncan to win Finals MVP.
3. Game 3, 2008 West semis (May 8, 2008)
Low-key one of Parker’s best postseason matchups took place in this series against a young Chris Paul-led New Orleans Hornets squad that took San Antonio to the brink. Down 2-0 to start the series, San Antonio leaned on a 40-minute night from Parker, who led the Spurs with a team-high 31 points to go with 11 assists and four rebounds to lead them to their first victory of that series. On the other side, Paul torched the Spurs for 35 points, but San Antonio would go on to win the series 4-3.
4. The double-nickel night (Nov. 5, 2008)
Parker destroyed the Timberwolves for what was the time an NBA season-high 55 points as San Antonio edged Minnesota 129-125 in double-overtime for its first win of the season. Parker scored nine points in the second overtime, in addition to tallying 10 assists and seven rebounds. Parker’s 55 points that night registered as the highest-scoring game by a Spur since David Robinson in 1994 set the franchise record with 71 points. In fact, Parker’s 55-point outburst in 2008 was San Antonio’s best until last season when LaMarcus Aldridge drilled Oklahoma City for 56 points in a double-OT triumph.
5. Coming up clutch vs. OKC (Nov. 1, 2012)
Eliminated by the supremely talented Thunder the previous season in the conference finals, San Antonio opened at home against the Thunder. Oklahoma City clung to a three-point lead going into the final seconds, before Parker knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the score at 84. Parker followed that up by draining a tightly-contested 21-footer over a Serge Ibaka as time expired to secure the San Antonio victory.
6. Game 4, 2013 West finals (May 27, 2013)
In the 2012 West finals, Parker promised franchise stalwart Tim Duncan that the Spurs would make it back to The Finals. Parker delivered by blasting Memphis for 37 points on 15-of-21 shooting as San Antonio swept the Grizzlies for the Spurs’ first Finals berth since 2007. Parker led all scorers in three of the four games in that series. “Every year he gets better and better and better,” Duncan said at the time. “He’s been carrying us. You can see tonight he carried us the entire game.”
7. Game 1, The 2013 Finals (June 5, 2013)
Two pick-and-roll attempts fell flat, as the shot-clock crawled toward expiration in Game 1 of the 2013 Finals in Miami. Parker needed to make a play. “Tony did everything wrong and did everything right in the same possession,” LeBron James would later say. “That was the longest 24 seconds that I’ve been a part of.” As Parker attacked the basket, he nearly lost control of the ball at least twice, fell to a knee, and re-gained control of the basketball. With James defending, Parker spun and ducked under to release a shot the forward partially blocked just before the clock expired. The bucket counted to put San Antonio up 92-88 with 5.2 ticks left to seal a Game 1 win as Parker scored 10 of his 21 points in the final frame. The Spurs would eventually lose that series 4-3.
8. Game 7, 2014 first round (May 4, 2014)
Sure, Parker led San Antonio with 32 points to help the Spurs stave off the Dallas Mavericks and prevent a second straight postseason from ending with a Game 7 loss. But in this matchup, an early Parker technical foul set the tone for a 119-96 drubbing. With 31.6 seconds left in the opening quarter, Parker shot past former teammate DeJuan Blair for a layup. Seconds later, Parker was seen jawing with the former Spurs big man as they ran down the court on the ensuing possession. Parker was assessed a technical on the play, but he and Blair had been talking to each other all series. The point guard was displaying frustration at times by his former teammate’s hard fouls in previous games. “I was just laughing with DeJuan,” Parker said at the time. “That’s why it was so funny to get a technical for that, because I was not even cursing at him. DeJuan played four years (for the Spurs). He lived for a year at my house. I love DeJuan.”
9. The 2014 Finals (June 5-15)
After a heartbreaking loss to Miami in the 2013 Finals, San Antonio would capture its fifth NBA title. Although Kawhi Leonard earned MVP of the series, don’t discount the contributions made by Parker as he earned his fourth NBA title. With a little more than a minute remaining in the third quarter of Game 5, Parker hadn’t yet scored. But over the final 12:16, Parker scored 16 points to help the capture the championship. Parker averaged 18 ppg and 4.5 apg in those Finals, all while shooting 41.7% on 3-pointers (and 47.9% overall).
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