Tony Parker is a French professional basketball player known for his agility and high field goal percentage. This four-time NBA Champion and NBA Finals MVP was also a former all-time leading scorer in the Eurobasket tournament.
Born William Anthony Parker in Belgium but raised in France. His father was a professional basketball player which made it easier for him to train in the sport, but his interest lay in football while he was young. After he watched Michael Jordan, he became interested in basketball and went to attend the INSEP in Paris.
He began his playing career at Paris Basket Racing in 1999, representing the French team in the European leagues. Parker represented France at the 2000 FIBA European Under-18 Championships where he won the MVP award. It was all but natural that at the end of 2001, he would move to the NBA with a lot of hype surrounding this young European superstar.
Sure enough, at the 2001 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs picked him at 28th overall, and what a pick it was for the Texas-based team. Parker quickly took up their starting point guard position and was named to the 2001-02 All-NBA Rookie team as their starting point guard during the All-Star weekend.
The following year, he led the Spurs to the 2003 NBA Championship title, a feat repeated in 2005 and 2007. With a high field goal percentage and some immaculate passing, Parker became indispensible to the Spurs, getting selected for the 2006, 2007 and 2009 NBA All-Star games. In the 2007 edition, Parker was named as the MVP for the NBA Finals, another feather in a cap that was quickly running out of space for feathers.
Parker won the 2007 Euroscar European Player of the Year award as well, while being named to the 2008-09 All-NBA third team. At the international level, Parker represented the senior national French team at the 2005 FIBA European Championships where he bagged a Bronze medal for his team. However, the highlight of his career would be the induction into the Legion of Honour, the highest French commendation, in 2007.
In 2007, Parker’s consistent performance helped the Spurs beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2007 NBA Finals. He scored a series-high 24.5 points and became the 2007 NBA Finals MVP – the first European-born player to get the award.
In the 2007-2008 Season, Parker was able to achieve a double-double with 31points and 11 assists but they failed to get the championship again as they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs weren’t faring better in the next season, but Parker was able to garner a career-high 55 points and sparked a recovery in the team. While the Spurs failed to make the playoffs, Parker was able to go past his previous playoffs average.