Popovich reflects on ‘beyond basketball’; Parker finds Hall of Fame induction ‘hard to believe’

Spurs greats among Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2023 to meet with media Friday

Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich address reporters at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame media session. (Copyright 2023 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

UNCASVILLE, CT – The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2023 met with the media Friday at the Mohegan Sun Cabaret Theatre.

Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich, Class of 2023, will be presented by four of his former players -- David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.

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Robinson, Duncan, and Ginobili spent their entire hall of fame careers in San Antonio with Pop. Parker spent 17 of his 18 years with the Spurs before finishing his career with Charlotte. All four are very close to Coach Pop after spending years together.

“I get to know them for a very long time and get close to their families, their children. My grandchildren go to school with Tim Duncan’s children, you know, so it’s pretty special in that regard,” Popovich said. “So, the effect they have on me is it gives me much more meaning than teaching somebody how to go back door. To be very honest with you, you know, it’s beyond basketball. And I think that’s what sustains us as we move through life.”

Parker, Class of 2023, is also the first French basketball player to get elected to the Hall of Fame.

“That’s hard to believe,” Parker said. “To be the very first, it feels surreal, to be honest with you. I never thought somebody like me can experience something like that and it has been unbelievable the last two weeks working on my speech and being nostalgic. And finally realizing everything that we accomplish with the Spurs has been very special. And to share that with my family, with my friends.”

Former Spurs assistant coach and WNBA great Becky Hammon was not in attendance at the media session because her Las Vegas Aces have a game Friday night. But Hammon will attend the enshrinement ceremony Saturday night. Pop knew right away he wanted to hire her as an assistant coach.

“I’m in love with her. I just have to admit that to the world. I’m in love,” Pop told the media. “She is a fiery, competitive take no prisoners gal. And the first time I knew that was when I went to see a WNBA game in San Antonio because she was the point guard for that team. She was directing traffic, making everybody do what she wanted them to do, and she just ruled the whole gym. It was amazing.”

Becky, Pop and Tony all blazed their own path to the Hall of Fame and the three greats will come together Saturday night to share another special moment together.

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About the Authors

Larry Ramirez joined the KSAT 12 sports team in October 2004.

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