SAN ANTONIO — Former Spurs guard Tony Parker, a four-time NBA champion, told ESPN’s The Undefeated that he is retiring after 18 seasons.
“I’m going to retire. … I decided that I’m not going to play basketball anymore,” Parker told The Undefeated.
Parker, 37, retires with 1,254 regular-season games played, having averaged 15.5 points, 5.6 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.
The Spurs selected Parker with the 28th overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft. He formed a core with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili that won four titles. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Parker was the first European to become an NBA Finals MVP (in 2007).
The six-time All-Star played for the Spurs from 2001 to 2018 and played his final season with the Charlotte Hornets in 2018-19.
Parker told The Undefeated in an interview on June 1 in San Antonio that he is at peace with his decision to retire. He wanted his retirement announcement to be released Monday.
“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 a Tony Parker anymore and I can’t play for a championship, I don’t want to play basketball anymore.”
Parker also tweeted about his retirement Monday.
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!
Parker will be best known for being a member of the Spurs’ Big Three, with Duncan and Ginobili, while being coached by Gregg Popovich.
They won titles together in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014 and played together from 2002 to 2016. One of the most successful trios in NBA history, they played over 1,000 games together. Duncan retired in 2016, Ginobili retired in 2018, and both have since had their jerseys retired by the Spurs. The team is expected to retire Parker’s No. 9 jersey as well.
“Tony Parker obviously has had an amazing career. I’ve had a blessing to be with him since he was 19 years old,” Popovich said.
Parker told Duncan and Ginobili he was retiring during a recent lunch in San Antonio.
“They were like, ‘Are you sure?'” Parker said. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m sure.’ And so, they’re like, ‘If you’re sure, man, I’m so happy for you. I’m so happy for you. We had a great run and can’t wait to beat you up on tennis and spending more time together.’
“… We’re always going to be remembered together. But it was great to share that moment with them. It’s crazy. We came from three different backgrounds and came together.”
Tony Parker was a key member of a Spurs team that won four championships. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Parker is already busy in retirement.
He is opening the Tony Parker Adéquat Academy international school in his hometown of Lyon, France, in September. He is currently the owner and president of ASVEL, a French men’s and women’s professional basketball club based in Lyon. While Parker intends to spend more time working closely with ASVEL and his new school, he plans to continue to have a home base in San Antonio.
Parker also wants to be an NBA owner one day.
“That is one of my dreams,” Parker said. “Right now, I’m focusing on ASVEL and having a great experience. We’re building a new arena right now, and we’re gonna enter the EuroLeague and the EuroLeague is growing very fast. But the ultimate is to be one day an owner in the NBA. And so I’m already having talks with different people, and they’re looking at what I’m doing in France.
“It takes a lot of work, but I love it. I love it. So maybe one day, if it’s the right opportunity and it’s something that I definitely want to do. I’m just gonna wait for the right opportunity.”
Parker had said in recent years that he wanted to play 20 seasons in the NBA. By retiring, he ends up two seasons shy of that goal. Parker turned down a player’s option for next season with the Hornets that would have paid $5.25 million.
Don’t expect the busy Parker to change his mind and return to the NBA, even if he could go back to the Spurs.
“I’m at peace with it,” Parker said. “It’s been a long time that I’ve been in peace with that decision because I’ve prepared myself for that too, with all the stuff that I’m doing, the two teams I own in France and my international school opening in September. I have so much stuff going on that I’ve always been at peace with that decision.
“When it comes, I’ll be ready to leave it to the young guys. The game of basketball is for young guys. So that’s why for me, I understood very early, that when it’s time to [retire], I’ll be fine with it.”