Tony Parker Calls Michael Jordan the 'Best Ever': 'It's Not Even Close'

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 4, 2020

San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker warms before an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

The greatest of all time debate is not a debate for Tony Parker.

The former San Antonio Spurs All-Star point guard discussed Michael Jordan and the 10-part documentary series, The Last Dance, airing on ESPN through May 17 with The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears.

"It's perfect timing to show it now that we are all in confinement," Parker said, in part. "I love it. To me, he's the best ever. It's not even close, to me."

Parker also disclosed his favorite Jordan memory:

"I was 14 years old and my mom got us a trip to Chicago for Christmas. My dad organized a trip to the United Center to watch a game and meet Michael after the game and take a picture with me and my brothers. That was my first time meeting him and it was 1996 during the crazy season they had with the 72 wins.

"Now, I am just happy to call him a friend. We text each other. We hung out in Paris in January in my hometown. It's not every day I can go out with Michael to a restaurant or go out to a club and go have fun with him." 

Parker retired from the NBA in June 2019 after 18 seasons. The 37-year-old was drafted 28th overall by San Antonio in 2001. He went on to win four championships with the Spurs alongside Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, All-Star guard Manu Ginobili and head coach Gregg Popovich.

Parker signed with the Charlotte Hornets in July 2018 and played 56 games for the team during the 2018-19 campaign before his retirement. Jordan became the majority owner of the then-Charlotte Bobcats in 2010. 

Parker sat down with Spears about his retirement announcement for a story published on June 10, 2019, describing that he decided to walk away from the game before hitting his original goal of playing 20 seasons because "if I can't be Tony Parker anymore and I can't play for a championship, I don't want to play basketball anymore."

The 2007 NBA Finals MVP told Spears that Jordan "understood" his decision to retire.

The Last Dance has averaged 5.8 million viewers across the first six episodes, according to the NBA. ESPN debuted the first two episodes on April 19, and two new episodes have dropped every Sunday night since.

The documentary explores Jordan's Hall of Fame Bulls career and the moving parts within the franchise leading up to their sixth and final championship run in 1997-98.