Tony Parker was almost drafted by Celtics in 2001, but Red Auerbach vetoed selection
In a recent articled penned by Mike Monroe for The Athletic, new details were revealed pertaining to how San Antonio Spurs legend Tony Parker was actually almost selected by the Boston Celtics during the 2001 NBA Draft.
As it turns out, the C’s were all but ready to draft Parker with their 21st overall pick. This move would have also gone through had it not been for then-Celtics president and vice-chairman Red Auerbach vetoing the selection.
It was Auerbach who nixed Parker and insisted that North Carolina shooting guard Joe Forte be the team’s pick at No. 21, a fact confirmed in recent days by several league executives familiar with the Celtics decision on what would become a fateful night for the Spurs.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, Forte would play a grand total of just eight games for Boston in his entire rookie year, averaging 0.8 points, 0.8 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in just 4.9 minutes per contest. The team would then ship off the 6-foot-4 shooting guard the following summer to the Seattle Supersonics, where he would spend his second and final year in the NBA.
As for Parker, we all know how his career turned out for the Spurs.
Monroe’s article provided more insight on what may have swayed Auerbach’s decision.
Auerbach, one executive said, remained skeptical of European point guards. Plus, he had seen many of Forte’s games when Forte was a star for DeMatha Catholic High School, the famed hoops program in Hyattsville, Md., run by Auerbach’s friend, legendary prep coach Morgan Wootten.
This, perhaps, is one of the biggest regrets in Boston’s decorated history. Auerbach himself did some great things for the organization, but clearly, he was way off on this one.