Tony Parker becomes the first Frenchman to enter the NBA Hall of Fame

Tony Parker with the San Antonio Spurs during an NBA game in Los Angeles, California, February 19, 2016.

Four years after his retirement from the prosecution, Tony Parker has not been forgotten in the United States. As proof: the former playmaker will join the NBA Hall of Fame, the pantheon of the North American Basketball League. A consecration for “TP”, who becomes the first Frenchman to receive this honor. The announcement was made official on Saturday 1er April in Houston, Texas. A state dear to the player who spent seventeen seasons there with the San Antonio Spurs, before joining the Charlotte Hornets in 2018 to end his NBA career.

On August 12, the date of his official entry into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield (Massachusetts) – his full name – Tony Parker will be accompanied in this 2023 vintage by his lifelong coach at Spurs, Gregg Popovich, as well as her assistant and star of the women’s league, the WNBA, Becky Hammon.

Above all, he will be inducted alongside the Spaniard Pau Gasol and the German Dirk Nowitzki: two other symbols of an internationalization of the NBA in which the Frenchman fully participated. “The Hall of Fame is the equivalent of Mount Rushmore, a way to truly go down in history, exhibits at World Yann Descamps, lecturer in sports history at the University of Franche-Comté and specialist in American sports. You are remembered for what you brought to the game, the stone you laid for something greater than that. Here, the stone is internationalization. »

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Only eleven Europeans are to date among the 197 players who make up the pantheon of American basketball. In a league which took a long time to consider that talents also existed outside its borders, it is therefore not trivial to have a 2023 vintage coming mainly from the Old Continent. Especially since Tony Parker, Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki succeeded in integrating the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility (understanding retirement for at least three years), what is called in the jargon the first-ballot.

First European to win the Finals MVP trophy

When Tony Parker was selected in 28e draft position by the San Antonio Spurs in the summer of 2001, foreign players were still rare in the NBA. He was only the second Habs to join the prestigious league, after Tariq Abdul-Wahad in 1997.

It was in the early 1990s, in the wake of the demonstration of the “Dream Team USA” at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, that the international pioneers began to settle down across the Atlantic. Coming from the former USSR, Drazen Petrovic, Arvydas Sabonis, Toni Kukoc, or even Vlade Divac often came late to the NBA, despite exceptional abilities already proven in Europe. They also played, mainly, at inside positions.

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