Over the weekend, San Antonio Spurs PG Tony Parker signed a 3-year extension with the team that could be worth nearly $45 million. While Parker still had one year remaining on his previous contract, the 4-time NBA champion chose to prolong his stay in the Alamo City. Jeff McDonald at the San Antonio Express News quoted Parker’s reaction to the deal from Friday, “I want to play for the Spurs my whole career, and be a Spur for life.”
And why wouldn’t he?
From the time Parker was drafted in 2001, he has been an integral part of a Spurs team that hasn’t missed the playoffs. Parker is part of the winningest trio in the history of the NBA (with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili). Parker won four NBA titles with San Antonio, once leading the team as NBA Finals MVP in 2007. He has played with legends, has been coached by a legend and Parker has been creating a legacy for himself in San Antonio.
As the Spurs have proven to be an ever-evolving organization, the team changed from a grind-it-out style of play based on winning games with scoring in the 80s. Over the past few years, San Antonio has changed with the rest of the league to an up-tempo, high-scoring style of play, and Parker has been the spur (pun intended) used to get this team moving. In a way, Duncan passed the torch to Parker, and now the point guard has the ball in his hands when the Spurs are hurting for a basket. Parker has worked his way up in the organization, and it’s still his time to shine.
San Antonio is littered with international talent, and Parker finds himself comfortable in such an environment. While playing with Ginobili and Duncan certainly makes things easier, playing with fellow countryman Boris Diaw is a huge benefit of staying with the Spurs. Parker certainly sees a few more years of success in the Spurs’ future alongside Diaw, given his new contract, and all the other foreign players that work so well in the Spurs system.
In a league that drools over free-agency rumors years in advance (see Lebron James, Kevin Durant or any Laker fan praying for help), Parker was able to hush any thought of him pursuing free agency next year. In true Spurs fashion, Parker made a move before the media had time to toss and turn over his future whereabouts.
When it’s all said and done, staying true to the Spurs organization and the way it does things may be the most powerful factor of all in Parker’s decision to stay with the team. If he truly stays a “Spur for life,” Parker will join San Antonio legends David Robinson and Tim Duncan as men who established and continued an expectation of dominance and a dynasty of dedication to team-first basketball.
It’s hard to say when Parker’s career will come to a close, but it’s now clear that it will end with Parker in silver and black.