Tony Parker, first French player to enter the Hall of Fame
Published on :
Frenchman Tony Parker will enter the Hall of Fame, along with two other European players: German Dirk Nowitzki and Spaniard Pau Gasol. Their induction into this prestigious institution will take place on August 12.
A consecration. Frenchman Tony Parker, German Dirk Nowitzki and Spaniard Pau Gasol will enter the Hall of Fame, the supreme honor reserved for the elite of the elite, which illustrates the imposing place taken by European basketball in the NBA since two decades.
These three basketball players are among the best in the history of the Old Continent and they are the first of their countries to enter the elite, alongside legends such as Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant. Their induction into the prestigious institution will take place on August 12 in Springfield (Massachusetts).
“Dirk, I saw him retire. We had all these battles with Dallas and San Antonio. Pau… I wish he had never been born! I would have had more medals from gold with France. And now we are all together in the Hall of Fame. It’s incredible”, reacted Tony Parker.
He also tweeted. “It is an honor for me to have been elected to the NBA Hall of Fame in the first ballot. I am very moved. I could never have imagined, in my wildest dreams, to be there one day. .”
It is an honor for me to have been elected to the NBA Hall of Fame in the first ballot. I’m very emotive. I could never have imagined, in my wildest dreams, to be there one day. Thank you all for supporting me! pic.twitter.com/4qmZoMDB9x
— Tony Parker (@tonyparker) April 1, 2023
Gregg Popovich also honored
Tony Parker, winner of Euro-2013 with France, can above all boast of having more champion rings than his two acolytes (2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014), all won with the San Antonio Spurs, alongside of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, already members of the Hall of Fame, with whom he formed one of the most formidable trio in history. He was also the first European elected MVP (best player) of a final, in 2007.
An inveterate scorer, Dirk Nowitzki is the 6th best scorer in NBA history (31,560 points in 1,522 games). First European elected MVP of the regular season in 2007, the “Wunderkid” guided the Dallas Mavericks to the only title in their history in 2011.
Pau Gasol was crowned champion twice with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010, in the role of lieutenant of Kobe Bryant. Recently, their numbers have been enthroned side by side on the ceiling of the LA hall. The Barcelonian also has a huge international record, once world champion (2006) and three times European champion (2009, 2011, 2015) .
“This recognition, I could never have dreamed of when I was a kid. My journey with Spain has made me who I am. I have always felt great pride in playing for my team and inspiring the kids, allowing them to dream like I dreamed as a child,” he commented.
Other personalities entering the Hall of Fame include Gregg Popovich, five-time champion with San Antonio and the most successful coach in the NBA, as well as Becky Hamon, who was the latter’s assistant from 2014 to 2021, becoming the time a short interim the first female head coach of a professional men’s team.
“Basketball Hall of Fame”
This 2023 vintage is exceptional in more ways than one because Europe is for the first time in force in this “Basketball Hall of Fame”, Dwyane Wade being the only American to complete the quartet of former players. He also left his mark on the NBA, since he was three times champion with Miami (2006, 2012, 2013).
Since the first class of 1959, they are now 201 former players, from the North American league and elsewhere, members of the Hall of Fame, also composed of players, coaches, teams, referees, managers and other contributors. Only 23 are non-Americans, including 14 Europeans from nine different countries, with Croatians being the most represented, four in number since the induction of Tony Kukoc in 2021, three times crowned with Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the 1990s .
By adding Germany, Spain and France to this list, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Gasol and Tony Parker symbolize the galloping internationalization of the NBA which has never ceased to open up to the world. And by showing themselves to be so preponderant in the success of their teams, they embodied this change of era and landscape over time.
As such, this European “Big3” is a pioneer having paved the way for today’s stars, the Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and other Luka Doncic who impose their domination in the highest league in the world.
“There were a few veterans like Detlef Schrempf, Tony Kukoc or Drazen Petrovic who paved this way and the new wave that we represented with Tony and Pau arrived… We helped make this game global and if we could by the way, inspiring kids is a source of humility,” reacted Dirk Nowitzki.