San Antonio Spurs Reward Tony Parker With $50 Million Extension, Faith

November 1st, 2010 by Robert Kleeman Leave a reply »
Gregg Popovich was once convinced Tony Parker would never start in a meaningful game for any NBA team. This was after then front office employee Sam Presti begged the Spurs' coach to give the puny Frenchman another look.

San Antonio drafted the speed demon with the 28th pick in 2001, but all Popovich could see was a naive 19-year-old who knew as much about running a championship squad as he did quantum physics. It makes sense, then, that Popovich was an instrumental figure in this weekend's $50 million extension that will keep Parker a Spur through 2014.

Those who question the motives behind the four-year deal or its sensibility should forget the financials for a moment and remember how his San Antonio tenure began. Whereas many coaches coddle and pamper young players, Popovich turned to verbal abuse and grueling practice drills to test Parker's will and intestinal fortitude.

He prodded his adolescent, wannabe floor general with insults, intense workouts and plenty of F-bombs. With a thin point guard crop, he decided to start his so-called creme puff five games into his rookie ...

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