Tony Parker recalls ‘nightmare’ pre-draft workout, Gregg Popovich gave him 2nd chance
Tony Parker has many anecdotes during his 17-year stint with the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich, but none will replace his very first — a phantasmagoric initial workout for the team, one that could have ended his NBA dream before it started.
The French international thanked the Spurs fanbase for their undying support throughout the years and shared a story of how his NBA breakthrough came about in a heartfelt post in The Players’ Tribune.
“That was my first workout with an NBA team, during the pre-draft process in ’01 — and it was a disaster. I absolutely sucked. And when it ended, I thought for sure my NBA dreams had ended too.,” wrote Parker.
“But while you probably guessed that the story is mine, I bet not as many of you will guess which of the teams in the league my nightmare workout was with.
It was with the Spurs.
It’s true — I played maybe the most brutal basketball in my life, at the worst moment possible, right in front of Coach Pop and all of them. Pop and R.C., they had brought in this guy named Lance Blanks, a former NBA player, to run my workout, and he just dominated me. He made me look… well, he made me look like the teenage kid that I was.”
As fate would have it, Parker was drafted 28th overall by the Spurs, becoming one of the main cogs of the organization alongside talisman Tim Duncan. He would be later joined by another international in Argentinian swingman Manu Ginobili, forming a trio that would go on to win four titles together.
Parker’s success in the league speaks to the Spurs’ methodology when analyzing talent, taking in account more than just the measurables and the workouts, but the body of work and potential that a player has while coming into the organization.