Born: May 17, 1982
Place of Birth: Bruges, Belgium
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
William Anthony Parker Jr. (born 17 May 1982) is a Franco-American professional basketball player for the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The son of a professional basketball player, Parker played for two years in the French basketball league, before entering the 2001 NBA draft. He was selected by the Spurs with the 28th overall pick in the draft, and quickly became their starting point guard. Parker has won four NBA Championships (2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014), all of which were with the Spurs. He had also played for ASVEL Basket in his native France during the 2011 NBA lockout.
Known for his pace and high field goal percentage, Parker has been named to six NBA All-Star games, three All-NBA Second Teams, and an All-NBA Third Team. He was also the 2007 NBA Finals MVP. A severe injury to his left quadriceps tendon in Game 2 in the second round of the 2017 playoffs ended his season.
While playing with the French national team, Parker was named the MVP of EuroBasket 2013, following his team's victory over Lithuania in the gold medal game. He finished as the tournament's top scorer, with an average of 19 points per game. In 2015, he became the all-time leading scorer in the EuroBasket competition, a record that was broken by Pau Gasol two years later.
Standing at 6 feet 2 inches tall (1.88 m) and weighing 185 pounds (84 kg), Parker plays the point guard position and has established himself as a potent offensive player. Voted by his peers in a 2007 poll as one of the quickest players in the NBA, he often slashes to the basket for a layup or teardrop shot. Despite his relatively small size for a basketball player, he led the league in "points in the paint" for a large portion of the 2005–06 season.
In the initial part of his NBA career, Parker was still considered an erratic shooter of the ball and during the 2005 off-season, Coach Popovich decided to work on this aspect of his play. Spurs shooting coach Chip Engelland forbade Parker to shoot any three-point shots, and among others, corrected his shooting motion and his thumb position. As a result, by the 2006–07 season, Parker had reduced his three-point shots by 117 while shooting 147 more normal field goal attempts compared to 2005, and his accuracy rose by 4% (field goals and three-point shots) and he was able to connect on 78% of his free throws that season. Parker's field goal percentage is also high for a point guard, and his speed also makes him a fast break player. However, his style of play has had adverse effects on his knees (tendinitis).
Personal Life and Family
Parker was born in Bruges, Belgium, and raised in France. His father, Tony Parker Sr., an African American, played basketball at Loyola University Chicago as well as professionally overseas. His mother, Pamela Firestone, is a Dutch model. Parker's great-uncle Jan Wienese is an Olympic gold medalist in rowing. Parker enjoyed close relationships with his brothers, and they would often attend their father's basketball games together. At first, Parker was more interested in football, but after watching the evolution of Michael Jordan into a global basketball superstar during summer trips to his father's native city of Chicago, he changed his mind. Parker's two younger brothers were also heavily involved in basketball; T.J. and Pierre would go on to play basketball at college and professional levels. As Parker built his skill, he played the point guard position, recognizing that his speed and agility made this position ideal for him. In the late 90's, he chose to adopt French nationality while retaining his American nationality. He was eventually asked to attend the INSEP in Paris.