SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News)- In an emotional ceremony retiring Tony Parker’s jersey at the AT&T Center Monday night, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich drew laughter from the crowd when he apologized to the former point guard for all the “physical and mental abuse.” It’s no secret that Popovich was tough on Parker when he joined the Spurs at the young age of 19.
“Tony Parker was one who cared about his teammates, he cared about the community, he cared about basketball, he cared about his friends, and now this wonderful, beautiful, family,” said Popovich. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for our organization. I love you.”
Parker said Popovich was more than a coach. He was like a second father to him. He talked about the impact Pop had on his life.
”You took a chance on me. Thanks for believing in me. ” Parker said. “You taught me a lot and I’ll be thankful forever. Thank you very much, Pop-oh.”
He also said his friendship with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili would last forever.
Duncan said he had no idea that Parker would be the point guard he would love playing with until the end of his career.
Ginobili thanked Parker for trusting him while others may have questioned his wild plays. He also noted that during all those years of playing together and having long conversations, they never had an argument.
David Robinson joked that Parker was the reason he retired . He said he decided to leave the sport when he realized he couldn’t keep up with the 19-year old point guard.