This month, Netflix released Tony Parker: The Final Shot – a documentary based on Parker's NBA career highlighted by his four NBA titles. An NBA great, Parker was Kobe Bryant's apparent rival – winning his championships when Bryant was being hailed as an NBA great. The late Los Angeles Lakers legend appears in the documentary, speaking about how Parker (and the San Antonio Spurs) affected his chances of winning a title.
While the documentary focuses on Parker and his time in the league, Kobe Bryant's words have caught fans' attention. After his last appearance on Michael Jordan's The Last Dance, this will be the second documentary Bryant is a part of – interviewed before the tragic passing away last January.
“I’m Kobe Bryant, and I played against Tony for years,” Bryant begins, sitting on a couch while tapping his foot. "He’s responsible for me not winning more championships". He continues to speak about Parker's game, and how the Spurs were one of the reasons he did not win a title till 2009.
“I remember games where Tony had a really really short leash. He makes one mistake and Pop’s [Gregg Popovich] gonna pull him out the game," Bryant said. Bryant reveals that he spoke to Parker about trapping him, so he would dribble the ball off his for, utrn it over and be out of the game. "But I think that kind of pressure and environment helped Tony play develop and play in those precious situations," Bryant added, speaking of how Parker evolved as a player over time.
Bryant, who spent all his career with the Lakers, won five titles – 2000-2002, 2009 and 2010. Parker's three championships came between 2003 and 2007. Back then, Bryant was one of the league's finest, but was unable to secure a title. Critics spoke about Bryant being incapable of a title without Shaquille O'Neal, which is when the Spurs became strong title contenders.
In 2001, the San Antonio Spurs drafted Parker as the Round 1 No. 24 pick. He played with the team for 17 seasons, retiring after his 18th NBA campaign with the Charlotte Hornets. The six-time NBA All-Star won four titles – 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014 – averaging 15.5 points in his career.