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Tony Parker cites playing for his idol, Michael Jordan, as a key reason he joined Hornets

Tony Parker, Michael Jordan

Six-time All-Star and four-time champion Tony Parker accepted a two-year deal worth $10 million to join the Charlotte Hornets in July, leaving a 17-year career with the San Antonio Spurs in his wake. Why would Parker, a beloved member of the Spurs organization for such a long time, pack up and leave? It seems the opportunity to suit up for Michael Jordan’s team played a role in his decision.

Parker, now 36 years of age, recently detailed his resolution in an interview with L’Expresso:

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

“And when Michael Jordan called me, my idol, I thought, let’s go,” Parker continued. “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.”

Parker missed a bit a of time last season due to a leg injury. The former 28th overall pick played in 55 regular-season games, averaging 7.7 points on 45.9 percent shooting from the field (27.0 percent from beyond the arc), 3.5 assists, and 1.7 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per outing.

Shortly after hearing of Parker’s decision, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich sent out a heartfelt message:

How this new chapter of Parker’s career will play out remains to be seen, but there is no doubt the Hornets are happy to have him on-board.

Hornets president Mitch Kupchak released this statement:

“We are thrilled to add a player of Tony’s caliber and experience to our roster,” Kupchak said. “We believe his track record of success and playoff resume will add backcourt depth to our roster and veteran leadership to our group. Parker’s experience with Head Coach James Borrego will be an invaluable asset to us moving forward as well. We are excited to welcome Tony to Charlotte and for him to continue his Hall-of-Fame career with the Hornets.”

Parker will play behind Kemba Walker in the Hornets’ rotation.