“I’m going to retire,” the 37-year-old Parker told The Undefeated Monday. “I decided that I’m not going to play basketball anymore.”
Parker wanted to play 20 seasons in the NBA, but will finish just two shy of that goal. He said he does feel well enough to play two more seasons, but thinks after recent injuries and one season with the Charlotte Hornets, it is time to retire.
“A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision,” Parker explained. “But, at the end of the day, I was like, if I can’t be Tony Parker anymore and I can’t play for a championship, I don’t want to play basketball anymore.”
Parker will remain in San Antonio after retiring but also plans to spend time in France. He is the owner and president of ASVEL, a professional men's and women's basketball team. He also plans to open the Tony Parker Adéquat Academy in his hometown of Lyon, France, before the end of the year.
Parker was born in Bruges, Belgium, and began his basketball career in France. He played in French amateur leagues before he entered the 2001 NBA Draft. The Spurs drafted him with the 28th overall pick.
During his time with the Spurs, Parker was one-third of one of the NBA's greatest trios in history, joining Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, under the stewardship of coach Gregg Popovich. The trio won championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014, with Parker becoming the first European player named NBA Finals MVP in 2007.
In his interview with The Undefeated, Parker said he came to terms with the idea of not playing.
"It’s funny because my family more than my friends, they’re like, ‘Oh, come on. Do one more. Do one more.’ Me? It’s been a long time that I’ve been at 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," Parker said. "I have so much stuff going on that I’ve always been at peace with that decision."
Parker continued, "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."
Even Duncan and Ginobili asked Parker if he was really sure it was time to retire. But they said they were happy he gets to walk away on his own terms.
"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," Parker told The Undefeated. "And to see Timmy’s jersey retired and then Manu … it was very emotional to go to Manu’s jersey retirement, and you go through all the moments and you think about what you’re going to say. It was just nice to share that moment with them."0comments
Off the court, Parker was married to actress Eva Longoria from 2007 to 2011. He is now married to French journalist Axelle Francine, with whom he shares two sons.
Photo credit: Chris Elise/Getty Images