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'It was an incredible journey!' French NBA star Tony Parker announces retirement

Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images/AFP | Tony Parker of the Charlotte Hornets looks on during the game on February 23, 2019, at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Former San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker confirmed his retirement from basketball on Monday after 18 seasons in the NBA.

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The 37-year-old French international, who won four NBA titles with the Spurs between 2003 and 2014, announced his decision in a post on Twitter.

“It’s with a lot of emotion that I retire from basketball, it was an incredible journey!” Parker wrote.

“Even in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would live all those unbelievable moments with the NBA and the French National Team. Thank you for everything!”

Parker is one of the most successful foreign players ever to play in the NBA. He played 17 seasons for San Antonio and made the postseason every year of his career before joining the Charlotte Hornets last season and missing the playoffs. He was selected to the All-Star team six times and was named second-team All-NBA three times.

He started 1,151 games regular season games and averaged 15.5 points and 5.6 assists per game. He also played in 226 playoffs games, averaging 17.9 points and 5.1 assists per game.

Parker had one year left on his contract with the Hornets, but was not a major part of Charlotte’s rotation late last season.

In an interview with The Undefeated on Monday, six-time All-Star Parker said he was walking away from the sport after realising that he could no longer compete at the very highest level.

“A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision,” Parker said.

“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.”

Parker had previously spoken of his desire to play 20 seasons in the NBA, but said his view changed after playing in Charlotte, who finished outside the playoff standings.

“I wanted to play 20 seasons and I still think I can play,” he told the website owned by ESPN.

“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.

“If I don’t play for a championship, I feel like, why are we playing? And so that’s why it was very different for me mentally to focus and get motivated to play a game that I love, because I want to win something.”

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)

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