Tony Parker Retires from NBA After 18 Seasons; Won 4 Championships with Spurs

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2019

Charlotte Hornets' Tony Parker (9) looks up at a video board during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Charlotte Hornets guard Tony Parker announced Monday that he will retire, ending his NBA career after 18 seasons.

"A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision," Parker told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. "But, at the end of the day, I was like, if I can't be Tony Parker anymore and I can't play for a championship, I don't want to play basketball anymore."

Parker said in 2017 that he hoped to play 20 seasons with San Antonio, joining Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki as the only players in NBA history to spend two decades with one franchise. However, he wound up signing a two-year deal with Charlotte last offseason to "experience something new."

After San Antonio drafted him with the 28th overall pick in the 2001 draft, Parker spent 17 years in a Spurs uniform. He was an integral part of the team's dynasty, making the postseason every year, winning four championships and taking home Finals MVP honors in 2007.

However, the 37-year-old has finally shown signs of slowing down.

For the first time in his career, Parker came exclusively off the bench while backing up All-Star Kemba Walker. He averaged 9.5 points and 3.7 assists in a career-low 17.9 minutes per game for the Hornets in 2018-19.

He was limited to 56 appearances and did not appear in the team's final 13 games.

"I wanted to play 20 seasons. and I still think I can play," Parker told Spears. "I had a good season with the Hornets, and I was healthy. But at the same time, now I don't see any reason to play 20 seasons."

Charlotte went 39-43 and missed out on the postseason, snapping Parker's streak of 17 consecutive trips to playoffs. According to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports, that was tied for the third-longest streak by a player in NBA history.

At the conclusion of the regular season, Parker told reporters he was "50-50" on returning for another season. He also said he would welcome an opportunity to return to Charlotte.

"I'm very happy to be in Charlotte," Parker said. "People here are awesome. Very thankful. I want to focus on the good times from this year. A lot of growth from our team and young players. Just want to build on that for next year."

But the veteran guard also said he did not want to be a part of a rebuilding team if he returned.

After taking some time to contemplate his future, Parker has decided it's time to walk away from the game.