Tony Parker says playing for idol Michael Jordan was a key reason for joining the Hornets

It will be a strange sight to see Tony Parker wearing a different uniform next season after he left the San Antonio Spurs to join the Charlotte Hornets this summer. 

The Frenchman ended his 17-year stay with the Spurs to head to North Carolina on a two-year deal in free agency. 

His decision surprised many as he was always expected to retire with the Texas-based franchise like Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili did.

But the 36-year-old chose not to be a Spurs lifer as he saw a great opportunity in Charlotte

Influenced by the GOAT

His move was motivated by several factors, one of them being the chance to play for his idol Michael Jordan. 

“When Michael Jordan called me, my idol, I thought, let’s go,” Parker said, via Jeff Garcia of News4 San Antonio.

“For me, I feel like closing the loop, to finish my career in his club, it’s something special for me because it’s him that made me want to play basketball.”

He penned a deal worth $10 million with the Hornets and he explained that his move was not about money as San Antonio had offered him the same. 

Parker said his decision was about the role he would be playing and he didn’t feel the Spurs were offering him enough time on the court compared to Charlotte.

“The Spurs offered me the same thing (contractually) as Charlotte, but it was more about the role,” he said.

“It was not a question of money. And it’s important that people know this, because there are a lot of people who were ‘angry’ at the Spurs, thinking the franchise had not offered me anything.

“Yes, they offered me something similar, but I did not want to finish assistant-coach. And that was the role they offered me, when I wanted to play.”

The four-time champion lost his starting place last year to youngster Dejounte Murray, although it was something he volunteered to do. 

He will play as back up to Kemba Walker on the Hornets but he’ll have a lot more minutes out on the floor. 

The point guard played a career-low 19.5 minutes last season and posted just 7.7 points per game.

Parker feels he can still contribute and he’ll have the chance to do that on his new team where he’ll be playing under former Spurs assistant coach James Borrego.

The six-time All-Star was also attracted by the opportunity to play with his close friend and countryman Nicolas Batum. 

It’s a shame that he won’t be ending his career in San Antonio but the move makes perfect sense for the future Hall of Famer as he wants to go out on his terms.

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