San Antonio Spurs legend Tony Parker recently released a new autobiographical documentary on Netflix entitled “Tony Parker: The Final Shot.” It highlights some of his most notable career moments and breaks down in great detail the highest highs and lowest lows of his career.
One especially interesting interview that occurs in the documentary is with Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
In a very genuine and matter-of-fact way, Bryant offered insights on what it felt like playing against Parker and how doing so prevented him from winning more than the five titles he ended up with.
“I’m Kobe Bryant, and I played against Tony for years,” Bryant said. “Years and years and years. He’s responsible for me not winning more championships.”
Parker’s Spurs won championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014. While the Lakers weren’t much of a title threat in 2005, 2007 or 2014, Bryant’s statement definitely holds true for 2003. That year, San Antonio disposed of L.A. in the second round of the postseason – ending a three-year championship run in the process.
Bryant also offered an interesting anecdote of what it felt like to play against Parker.
“I remember games where Tony had a really, really short leash,” he said. “He makes one mistake and [head coach Gregg Popovich is] gonna pull him out the game. So I would tell Tony, ‘You know what I’m just gonna trap you. Cause if you dribble the ball off your foot, you turn the ball over you’re out the game.'
“But I think that kind of pressure and environment helped Tony play develop and play in those precious situations.”
Bryant’s incredible basketball mind always made him a must-listen whenever he talked about hoops, and his analysis in the Parker documentary is no exception.
The basketball world sustained a huge loss when Bryant passed, and it’s extremely fortunate that his family has so impressively and consistently upheld his legacy over the past year.