Tony Parker is now a Charlotte Hornet but that is not how basketball fans think of him. For 17 years, he was a San Antonio Spur, winning championships and having great success alongside teammates Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. Parker was hoping to prove to the Spurs’ organization and the league at large that he had what it took to perform at a high level even late into his career. After he ruptured his left quadriceps tendon, the Spurs didn’t think that Parker, at his age, could come back strong enough to be a constructive part of the team.
Parker’s New Role
Tony Parker isn’t a starter anymore but plays backup point guard for Charlotte. However, he does a lot more than that for the team. Parker has learned a lot in his time in the league and had the benefit of playing for legendary coach Gregg Popovich. So while he isn’t a starting player, Parker is a leader for the Hornets.
Playing for Charlotte is a very different experience for Parker compared to his time in San Antonio. He’s now playing for first-year head coach of the Hornets, James Borrego, which creates a very different dynamic than playing for Popovich, who’s been around forever. And while the Spurs have won multiple championships in recent years, the Hornets have only made it to the playoffs 10 times in franchise history.
But head coach James Borrego is looking to build his team from the ground up, turning it into a group that can compete for the playoffs every season. And now Parker is a big part of that. He’s pivoted nicely into his new role as a leader from the sidelines as opposed to the go-to guy on the court. For Parker, it’s a nice way to end his career; starting something new and helping an organization grow and improve.
You can tell that Parker is an influential player not only by what’s he’s doing in Charlotte but by how he is missed in San Antonio. Anyone who has watched Parker play and seen him interviewed knows he’s about as cool as they come. He’s measured and precise both on the court and off. And his wisdom is quite valuable for a team.
Spurs management laments the loss of such a knowledgeable guy during film sessions and in the locker room. Parker may not be what he was on the court in his younger days, but he’s only grown in his basketball IQ.
At 36, Parker could retire at any time. He’s had an illustrious career and has no need to prove himself to anybody. But he is truly someone who loves the game of basketball. With his new role as a leader in Charlotte, the case can be made that Parker is pivoting into a coaching role. After all, who would be better suited to coach in the NBA than someone who spent almost two decades playing good team ball? And it doesn’t hurt that he studied under Gregg Popovich (one of the best basketball minds around) for most of his career. If Parker is keen to, there’s no doubt he could find his way into a coaching job some day.