Parker lauds ex-Spurs core for making HOF: ‘We were just built different’

Parker lauds ex-Spurs core for making HOF: 'We were just built different'

Tony Parker is thrilled to reunite with Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Gregg Popovich one more time.

The retired French guard and his former longtime coach Popovich will be enshrined in a ceremony Saturday as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2023 class. They will join both Duncan and Ginobili, who were inducted in 2020 and 2022, respectively.

Parker called it “pretty special” for the quartet to end up together in the sport’s grandest institution after spending nearly their entire careers with each other, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

“It shows we have a special group, and we were just built different,” he said during his induction press conference Friday.

He added: “We were all about winning championships, so it’s nice now to share that with them.”

Parker, Duncan, Ginobili, and Popovich spent 14 straight seasons together in San Antonio, claiming four NBA championships in that span and never failing to make the playoffs. They only lost in The Finals once in 2013, to the Miami Heat and their own Big Three – LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh – before getting their revenge the following year.

Parker, who the Spurs drafted 28th overall in 2001, was the last of the three players to retire, stepping away from the game in 2019 after a campaign with the Charlotte Hornets. It was the only one of his 18 NBA seasons he didn’t spend in San Antonio.

With his longtime bench boss Popovich being inducted alongside him, the former Finals MVP joked he “just can’t get rid of” the iconic head coach.

“I’m like, really? You have to put Pop in the same (class) as me?” Parker said, tongue-in-cheek.

However, he eulogized Popovich for the impact he had on him as a young player.

“Pop meant so much for myself, for my career,” he said. “He was like a second dad. At the end of the day, he threw me into the fire. Five games into the season, he was like, ‘You’re our starting point guard,’ at 19 years old, and the rest is history.

“I feel very lucky and blessed to go in with Coach Pop.”

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