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Tony Parker defines what ‘Spurs Culture’ really is, credits Tim Duncan

Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Spurs

In an endearing write-up penned by Tony Parker himself for The Players’ Tribune, the 36-year-old guard emotionally talked about his time with the San Antonio Spurs. One of the subjects that stood out was his discussion of “Spurs Culture.”

Parker gives us an insider’s point-of-view on an esteemed, yet enigmatic system that serves as the backbone to an organization that has won five NBA titles in the past two decades. According to Parker, it’s actually not all about winning.

“Everyone had their expectation of winning championships. But then they also had this other responsibility, that they valued just as much, of, like … leaving the team in better shape than when they found it. And that’s Spurs Culture, to me, you know? Fulfilling your expectations, while also making room for this larger responsibility to the whole.”

Upon signing with the Charlotte Hornets this summer, Parker walked away from a 17-year run with the Spurs — a career that started when he was a mere 19-year-old French teenager. During his time as a Spur, Parker won four titles, and was even awarded as the Finals MVP in 2007 when he led the team to the championship against a 22-year-old LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers.

In this regard, Parker absolutely played his part for the Spurs, and he has unquestionably left it in better shape than when he first arrived in 2001.

Parker went on to discuss the roots of Spurs Culture. Although many consider head coach Gregg Popovich to be the main proponent of the system, Parker claims that it is actually former teammate Tim Duncan at the center of it all.

“Of course, the biggest reason why Spurs Culture exists … this is pretty simple, isn’t it? We had one of the best players of all time, for 19 seasons, in Tim. But the thing with Tim is that he wasn’t only the greatest player for those years. He was also the greatest teammate. O.K., maybe this is a cliché. But I don’t think people realize how much of our team’s entire culture could really be brought back to just Tim being Tim. That’s the truth.”

It would have been great if Parker was able to play his career out in San Antonio, but destiny had other plans. Nonetheless, he will forever be considered as one of the greatest in Spurs history. Merci, Tony.