"If I can't be Tony Parker anymore... I don't want to play basketball anymore."
Four-time NBA champion Tony Parker has announced his retirement from the NBA after an illustrious career that spanned 18 seasons.
Parker, 37, entered the league in 2001 as the 28th overall selection by the San Antonio Spurs and spent his first 17 seasons with the team, before signing with the Charlotte Hornets last season. His next stop will be The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Speaking with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Parker explains:
"I'm going to retire. I decided that I'm not going to play basketball anymore ... A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision," Parker continued. "But, at the end of the day, I was like, if I can't be Tony Parker anymore and I can't play for a championship, I don't want to play basketball anymore."
"Last season was very different for me," Parker said. "I had a great time in Charlotte. This is very different for me after 17 years with the Spurs. And so I knew that the time changed, and I was being very nostalgic.
"And being away from the family back in San Antonio, too, that played a little bit of a role [in retiring], and so I came to a conclusion that it was just time to move on. I have a lot of great stuff in my life. A beautiful family. Beautiful kids. And so I wanted to spend more time with them ... and I wanted to play 20 seasons and I still think I can play. I had a good season with the Hornets, and I was healthy. But at the same time, now I don't see any reason to play 20 seasons."
For his career, the six-time All Stars boasts averages of 15.5 points, 5.6 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game. He ranks as the Spurs all-time leader in assists, and top five in franchise history in games played, points, and steals.
Basketball fans abound are celebrating Parker's 18-year NBA career on social media today, in the wake of his announcement. Check out some of the reactions below.