“I’m still here. Remember me?” Tony Parker
That’s how a joking Parker answered Magic’s question about being the “old” point guard during their interview after Game 3. With all of the Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, and Steph Curry hype, Parker is often left out of the best point guard conversation. How quickly we forget. But truthfully, most NBA fans outside of San Antonio, Texas did forget just how much of a threat a healthy, confident San Antonio team could be. But the Spurs didn’t. They set a goal at the beginning of the season and met it.
Parker and Manu Ginobli promised Tim Duncan that they’d get him to the Finals one more time and they made good on that promise. It was a mere six (6) years ago that the Parker earned MVP Honors as the Spurs grabbed a 4th NBA Championship title under the leadership of Coach Gregg Popovich. To a team that’s become comfortable with winning, six short years could seem like an eternity. But like using the stability ball when working out, the parts get stronger over time in order to keep the whole in balance. That’s who the Spurs are for the league.
What’s kept the Spurs so good for so long? It starts up top. Coach Pop has been with the franchise since 1994 when he served as GM/VP of Basketball Operations before appointing himself head coach in 1996 following a dismal season start. He’s been the coach of the elite team for the seventeen years since. That’s dang near a century in coaching years – just ask Vinny del Negro and Mike Brown.
It extends next to the locker room leadership. The team leader title is passed down methodically in this franchise as one would expect of royal lineage. The cool, calm persona goes back to the George “IceMan” Gervin era. Next, the Twin Towers (Duncan and David Robinson) dominated for years and then set it up for the current Big 3 (Parker, Ginobli and Duncan.) The Big Fundamental – we’ve got to find Duncan a better nickname – has ushered his team into the playoffs for every single season of his 16-year career. Popovich promised to retire when Tim does, but Parker said he will remind the Coach that he is his third son and he has to be with him through a few more seasons.
The Spurs made quick work of the promising upstart Memphis Grizzlies with the big broomstick to make it back to the Finals. The 4-0 sweep gives the old guys time to rest and prepare for the next test. Facing either the Indiana Pacers or the Miami Heat will be a significant challenge, but it’s doubtful that the Spurs are scared of LeBron or anybody else for that matter. That doesn’t mean that they don’t respect his game; they respect all great play. It simply means that know they carry what Coach Mark Jackson called “Championship DNA.”
Yes, this stability ball has been established properly and passed down Pop-Style.
WATCH: Tony Parker on the promise to Tim Duncan.