It’s officially the end of an era. With the Spurs raising Tony Parker’s jersey to the rafters following their game against the Grizzles, one couldn’t help but feel the mix of emotions. The ceremony itself ranks up there with the best of them. It was funny, emotional, nostalgic, and serendipitous.
Everyone who spoke — Gregg Popovich, Boris Diaw, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili — brought both laughs and tears. The flow was perfect as it never once felt like anyone carried on too long or strayed from their point. (Although Bobo certainly went beyond the three minutes he said he was allotted, but who doesn’t enjoy listening to the most interesting man in the world?)
The speech by Parker himself was amazing, and although he always seemed like the least relatable of the Big Three — which among other factors often lead him to being the least appreciated of the trio — he gave one last reminder of why we love him so much.
If you didn’t get to watch it last night, be sure to check it out below or by clicking here when you have 50 minutes to spare. This will likely be the last Spurs jersey retired for quite some time, so be sure to relish it.
- Pop “apologizing” for being so hard on Tony over the years, which everyone made sure to tease him about the rest of the night, and expressing what a joy it was to watch him grow as a player and a person.
- A bat interrupting Diaw’s speech, which left him calling for Manu, who teasingly started rolling up his sleeves. (Seriously though, does the AT&T Center actually have a bat problem, or does Manu have some kind of magnetic pull? They always seem to appear when he’s in the building.)
- Diaw reminding everyone that Tony was a team player — a fact often forgotten as he sat in the shadows of his more personable teammates — as well his story about Pop and Tony disappearing from Christmas dinner, only for him to find Pop yelling at Tony in an impromptu film session.
- Robinson realizing it was time to retire when 19-year-old Tony flew right by him in a pick-up game.
- Timmy neither confirming or denying the rumors that he didn’t talk to Tony his rookie season.
- Manu’s telling of how out of place he felt when he first arrived in San Antonio, and Tony was the first one to reach out and be his “ally” to make him feel more at home.
- Tony on Bruce Bowen being the “Michael Jordan” of France when he was growing up, which left him starstruck when he got to San Antonio. Forget Tim, his first thought was “OMG! I’m playing with Bruce Bowen!”
- Tony’s shout outs to all his former backups who were in attendance, including Patty Mills, George Hill, Roger Mason, and especially his reassurance that the Spurs are in good hands with his last one: Dejounte Murray. (Honestly, Tony’s entire speech was one big highlight. After being worried he wouldn’t make it without choking up, he did an amazing job.)
- Last but not least, Tony leading Spurs fans in one final “Go Spurs Go!” chant. That and seeing his jersey up there with Tim and Manu is what really brought on the feeling that the Big Three era is officially, 100% over. Merci, Tony!
What was your favorite part of the ceremony?