Tony Parker at the Hall of Fame, the first words at the Pantheon of basketball


Tony Parker at the Hall of Fame, the first words at the Pantheon of basketball

French leader Tony Parker, inducted by his two San Antonio Spurs buddies, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, at the closing ceremony in Springfield on Saturday night, is now officially a member of the Hall of Fame.

He entered the Pantheon in a light gray suit, enhanced by a perfectly fitted bow tie. In the ancient Symphony Hall in Springfield, Tony Parker gave his first Hall of Famer speech on Saturday night. And he did it rather well, tinging the memories with smiles, filling the words with a delicate emotion, in a fair balance that ended, inevitably, by pulling tears when he had to thank his father, Tony Senior, his mother, Pamela, and his brothers, Pierre and TJ, themselves, quickly overwhelmed.

The exercise was not simple. First to appear at the desk, Parker had the delicate mission of launching the grand mass, setting the right tone, between solemnity and lightness, to comfortably wedge the audience in the soft red velvet seats. A few minutes earlier, arriving at the foot of the imposing staircase of the monument, before climbing the last steps to the Temple, TP had slowly walked the approximately 200 meters of red carpet, followed, surrounded, brooded by his «big French mafia», as he says, friends, families, came to commune, celebrate, celebrate the first French at the Hall of Fame, all American sports combined and take to the top the little Frenchy arrived in the NBA in 2001, at 19 years old.

“You’ve always been a second father to me.

Tony Parker at the Hall of Fame, the first words at the Pantheon of basketball

Before entering the Symphony Hall, while for more than an hour, the legends succeeded one another at the entrance to the slow pace, Pat Riley, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, David Robinson... in a majestic procession, Parker stopped for a moment. The emotion had already caught him. "It’s going up well, I’ll try not to cry. I have the speech, but when you’re there, it’s not the same,” he said, before rushing into the Hall of History.

When Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, his «introducers» in the Hall of Fame, wisely settled to his right, the four-time NBA and MVP champion of the 2007 Finals, set the scene without fear. On the desk, still virgin of any history of the 2024 class, he laid all the power of this incredible promotion and its 15 NBA titles cumulated between Gregg Popovich, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and TP! “What an incredible promotion. I have so many connections with this class, Pau Gasol, teammate at the Spurs and great rival with Spain, Dirk Nowitzki, friend and opponent in hot Texan derbys, D Wade, the favorite player of my little brother, Becky Hamon, my big sister and Pop coach of course," he added. TP will later say, "You’ve always been a second father to me."

The words were suddenly weighted with tears

At ease, TP varied the pleasures. He told the pretty stories, while measuring the immensity in which he put his feet this Saturday night. He introduced his “witnesses”, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. He recalled that the former had not told him about the whole of the first regular season, but he was no longer mad at him, calling the iconic Spurs' interior the “best wingman in history,” as well as his eye superpowers, “He never asked for the ball, he just looked at me. And when you’re 19 and you come from France, it’s very scary when Tim Duncan looks at you!” As for Ginobili, TP said, “He’s the most unique player I’ve ever played with. He was so unique that Pop didn’t know what to do with him for the first two years.”


Tony Parker at the Hall of Fame, the first words at the Pantheon of basketball

The story was beautiful and the Springfield audience enjoyed listening to the Frenchy. In his crib, in Fécamp, the dreams of TP happily exceeded the folds of the duvet. And there, on the stage, he was upstairs and he liked it. But when the time came for the family, the words were suddenly heavier. Downright weighted with tears when he planted his gaze in that of his father, «I love you». To his mother then, then to his brothers, to his sons, Josh and Liam, to his companion, Alizé Lim, he declared the same love and the room was silent.

From Thierry Henry, the «big brother» who came to his rescue after his quadriceps injury in 2017, to eternal friends, Boris Diaw and Ronny Turiaf, to Michael Jordan, his idol and «his boss» in Charlotte, the last scene of his tenEight years of career, Tony has not forgotten anyone in the list of thanks. And sure he will not forget that night when he joined, for eternity, the legends of his sport.

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