SAN ANTONIO – Tony Parker has already run the gamut of emotions upon his return to San Antonio, and the Hornets-Spurs game has yet to be played.
Parker spoke to reporters ahead of his much-anticipated return on Monday night to the AT&T Center.
The longtime Spurs point guard signed with the Charlotte Hornets during the offseason after 17 seasons and four championships in San Antonio.
"Very emotional, very nostalgic since I arrived in San Antonio," Parker said. "Just feels good to be home and see familiar faces and all the love from the city of San Antonio."
Tony Parker says walking into ATT Center has been 'very emotional, very nostalgic'..says he never expected to not end career with Spurs, but he's happy to be home..also met with Tim Duncan last night. Said what Big 3/Pop accomplished was 'very special' #KSATsports #KSATnews #NBA pic.twitter.com/oN1jYWgRyx— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) January 14, 2019
Parker said he never imagined his career would not end with the Spurs, but he has embraced the challenge of helping another organization and its players develop into a playoff contender.
He fondly reflected on yearly playoff runs in San Antonio and said moving on has helped him gain an appreciation for what he, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and head coach Gregg Popovich achieved over nearly two decades.
"It was very special with Timmy, Manu and Coach Pop and all the great teammates that I played with over the years, and all the stuff we were able to accomplish here," Parker said. "It was amazing. When you change teams, it makes you realize it even more. It's just hard to put it in perspective, but now I can do that a little bit."
More Tony Parker...discusses relationship w/coach Gregg Popovich, says he keeps in touch with Manu Ginobili often and WILL attend and speak first at Manu's jersey retirement ceremony on March 28...also shares a message to Spurs fans. #KSATsports #KSATnews #NBA pic.twitter.com/cG6yNm0GuC— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) January 14, 2019
Parker said he spent some time with Duncan Sunday night and still keeps in touch with Ginobili.
Parker said he will be in attendance at Ginobili's jersey retirement ceremony to offer another assist to Manu by being the first person to speak at the ceremony, which will be held March 28.
When asked about head coach Gregg Popovich, Parker said their relationship goes beyond basketball as well.
Popovich spoke about Parker last week, saying their relationship was similar to that of a father and son.
Parker moved to San Antonio from France when he was still a teenager and grew up in the Alamo City.
"What we went through together was very special," Parker said. "I will always be grateful for everything he helped me (with) in this league, I’m just very happy to see him today."
The Spurs and Hornets tip off at the AT&T Center at 7:30 p.m.