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Friday, October 2, 2020

San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker revisits celebrated career in unguarded new memoir

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2020 at 12:09 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO / TRIUMPH BOOKS
  • Courtesy Photo / Triumph Books
For basketball enthusiasts outside the NBA bubble, 2020 has yielded a handful of exceptional hoops-themed titles including Tanking to the Top, Yaron Weitzman’s brilliant account of the Philadelphia 76ers’ infamous process, and The Victory Machine, Ethan Sherwood Strauss’ illuminating look at the rise and fall of the Warriors’ dynasty. Recent releases by Jeff Pearlman, Marc J. Spears and Gary Washburn chronicle the Lakers’ influential Kobe and Shaq dynasty plus seminal figure Spencer Haywood’s cultural impact, respectively.

With his new memoir, Beyond All of My Dreams, Spurs icon Tony Parker reflects on an unlikely journey that yielded six NBA All-Star selections, four NBA Championships and an NBA Finals MVP trophy. Slated for a November 17 release from Triumph Books, Parker’s forthright addition to the Spurs canon checks in at 272 pages, spread over five chapters that focus on his rise from basketball obscurity in France, his storied career as a member of the Spurs and Les Bleus, his growth as a businessman and his “private” life.



Beyond All of My Dreams curiously begins with Parker’s June 10, 2019 retirement from the NBA as a member of the Charlotte Hornets. For Parker, his stint in Charlotte symbolized that he “had come full circle,” as it was Hornets owner Michael Jordan who had served as his inspiration as a child. Parker’s introduction foreshadows a pair of recurring themes that leave lasting impressions — his relationship with Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich and the severity of his 2017 quad injury.

As Spurs faithful can likely attest, Popovich was visibly tough on Parker when he arrived in San Antonio at the age of 19. The extent of which Parker details vividly.

“At any rate, during my rookie season, I sometimes had tears in my eyes in the shower after practice,” writes Parker. “All he did was push me,” he continues. “Push me to test my limits. But there were never limits…I took it throughout my entire career. I never broke down in front of him or the team. I sometimes went home defeated and asking myself if I really wanted to continue playing for that coach.”

Parker goes on to describe a film session where Popovich berated him until Tim Duncan came to his defense.

“It sometimes bordered on abuse with me,” Parker writes. “Once we were watching film, and he was screaming at me, insisting that I reply. Actually, he was waiting for a confrontation. I didn’t answer. I just looked at him. Then he kicked me out of the meeting: ‘Out of the room!’ All because I didn’t say a word. Tim stood up and came to my defense: ‘That’s enough, Pop. It’s gone too far.’”

To his credit, Parker “never had a full-on shouting match” with Popovich and “never answered in the same tone of voice as him.” Ultimately, he credits Popovich’s influence as an integral part of his success and is quick to point out that as the first European point guard to lead an NBA team, his accomplishments and sacrifices paved the way for players including Goran Dragic, Ricky Rubio and Luka Doncic.

With LeBron James appearing in his tenth NBA Finals, much of the recent talk surrounding the league has centered on legacy. Looking back at the Spurs’ Big Three, it’s difficult to overstate the uniqueness of their quiet dynasty. Parker was ready to walk away from the Spurs in the Summer of 2003 had they signed free-agent Jason Kidd, and he eventually left in 2018 when he refused Popovich’s proposed role of third-string point guard. Beyond All of My Dreams is a well-crafted reminder of how serendipitous that dynasty actually was and why it continues to stir souls in San Antonio.

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