The San Antonio Spurs will retire No. 9 in honor of Tony Parker on Nov. 11, according to Julien Lesage of French newspaper Le Parisien. That game will be played against the Memphis Grizzlies, who employ Parker’s former teammate Kyle Anderson, but otherwise, have no apparent connection to the former superstar point guard.
The move marks the third retired jersey number in the past four seasons for the Spurs. The first to be taken out of circulation from this era was No. 21, worn by Tim Duncan, which was retired on Dec. 18, 2016. Next was No. 20, worn by Manu Ginobili, which came on March 28, 2019. It is fitting that Parker will be next after those two legends, as his legacy will forever be tied to theirs in Spurs history.
Parker was drafted No. 28 overall in 2001 and was the starting point guard in San Antonio in time for the 2002-03 championship run. He helped lead the Spurs to three more titles after that alongside Duncan and Ginobili. The three of them were viewed not only as the pillars of San Antonio’s dynasty, but as wholly unique among superstar trios in the NBA. All three were born outside of the continental United States, and that helped the Spurs establish an identity as the NBA’s ideal home for foreign players.
Parker, perhaps the greatest French player in history, also had a decorated international career that included a gold medal at EuroBasket 2013. There are now several prominent French players in the NBA, including Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum and Evan Fournier, and Parker laid the groundwork for all of their successes in the United States. In retirement, he has tried to combine the best of both worlds. While his primary residence is still in San Antonio, he purchased the French team ASVEL Lyon Villeurbanne during his playing career and plays an active role in team management.
Though Parker was the only member of San Antonio’s trio of superstars to ever play for a different NBA team, there are no hard feelings and he will be welcomed back by Spurs fans with open arms. Though his career may not have ended the way that those fans had hoped, he still helped bring four championships to San Antonio and expand both the Spurs brand and the game of basketball into the rest of the world. This decision has been inevitable for years, and it will be well earned when the time comes in November.