As fans, we all dream of getting that elusive chance to meet our favorite Spurs in person. More often than not, San Antonians will find a way to meet at least one player at some point (or randomly come across them, I’ve done both), but when you live a 15-20 hour flight away — like in Japan — sometimes it’s merely a dream.
However, that recently changed for superfan Ippei when his childhood idol, Tony Parker, visited Tokyo back in December. He patiently waited in line as Tony signed autographs, but when the time finally came for them to meet face-to-face, Ippei couldn’t hold his emotions. He broke down in tears after giving Tony a gift and note stating how much he admired the Spurs legend, who in turn gave him a hug and comforted him.
It’s quite a touching moment and a reminder how far the inspiration of these athletes can reach. Now that he’s retired, Tony has been able to do a lot more traveling and continues to be an ambassador for basketball around the world.
You can check out an interview he did with the Japan Times over his visit here or below.