Charlotte Hornets guard Tony Parker reflected on his 17-year tenure with the San Antonio Spurs and thanked the organization in an essay published on The Players’ Tribune on Monday.
Parker, 36, joined the Hornets on a two-year, $10 million deal this offseason in free agency, his first time on another team since the Spurs drafted him 28th overall in 2001.
“Thank you to the Spurs organization, from top to bottom, for the most amazing opportunity of my life — and for 17 years of the greatest job on earth,” Parker wrote. “Thank you to Spurs fans, everywhere, for always showing up, always being loud, and always, always having my back. And thank you to the city of San Antonio, for being the only thing that I could ever possibly call it now: home.”
Parker also touched on his transition to the bench for the first time in his career last season, when the Spurs made Dejounte Murray their new starting point guard. Parker said he first approached head coach Gregg Popovich about making the change.
“I came up to Pop one day, and I told him my thoughts: It was time for Dejounte to take over full-time as our starting point guard,” Parker wrote. “I didn’t want it to be a dramatic thing, or this ego thing, or one of these big media things, but I just wanted to get it out in the open — for the good of Dejounte’s development, and for the good of the team.
“Pop agreed, and thanked me. And then I went and had the same conversation with Dejounte. He was grateful.”
Parker, who has battled nagging injuries throughout his career, started just 21 of his 55 games last season after last coming off the bench in 2009-10. In his previous 16 years combined, he had come off the bench just 13 times.
Parker also offered a few thoughts on what he expects from his time with the Hornets.
“It will be this brand new experience for me, with a brand new organization,” Parker wrote. “And if you are looking for a second team to root for, in the East, you know ... maybe even give us a look :) I promise we are going to give them hell.”
—Field Level Media