San Antonio Spurs Retire The Jersey Of Former Player Tony Parker
The No. 9 Jersey will not be worn by a San Antonio Spurs player again, following the Monday night retirement ceremony for former Spurs guard Tony Parker.
The crowd at the AT&T Center was at capacity; the ceremony was held after a game against the Grizzlies, which the Spurs lost 113-109.
The Big Three were reunited on the court as Parker's No. 9 jersey was raised in the rafters to join those of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. The trio played together from 2002 and 2016, winning four NBA Championships. Parker thanked them and his former head coach Gregg Popovich.
"I had an unbelievable dad, but you were the unbelievable second dad to me; the way you taught me stuff, the way you helped me understand the game and make me better," Parker said.
Popovich apologized for being tough on Parker, especially when he first started playing at the age of 19. But he said he enjoyed watching Parker grow as a player and as a person.
"I feel fortunate that I was even there to see it all, so thank you for everything you've done for our organization, I appreciate it. I love you," the coach said.
Parker told the crowd that he, Ginobili and Duncan made for an odd trio of players.
"French point guard, guard from Argentina, guy from the islands barefoot (all) playing together. That was a hell of a Big Three," Parker said.
Ginobili and Duncan returned the praises of their former teammate. Parker told the crowd they have all remained in touch and are good friends.
Parker's family was in attendance, as were many of his former Spurs teammates, and teammates from France. There was also a sizable delegation of French reporters covering the retirement ceremony.
One surprise at the retirement ceremony: Bats. A few bats could be seen circling around the giant lighthouse scoreboard in the center of the arena. Spurs employees brought out giant hand held nets to try and catch them.
Correction: A previous version of this story listed the incorrect score of Monday night's game. The Spurs lost to the Grizzlies, 113-109.