For two and a half seasons, Pau Gasol and Tony Parker were teammates on the San Antonio Spurs. For 16 other seasons, the two were bitter rivals as Gasol played on the Grizzlies, Lakers, and Bulls. Both are eligible to make the Hall of Fame with the class of 2023, alongside Dwayne Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, and Gregg Popovich. Those three are locks, and Parker and Gasol slip a little bit behind the competition in terms of career accolades and accomplishments.
Last year, beloved Spur Manu Ginobili got his enshrinement, and he was clearly the best player in the class of ‘22. That isn’t the case this year, as the Spurs’ marquee representative is Gregg Popovich, the greatest coach in NBA history. Somehow, Tony Parker slipped through the cracks.
When we argued for Manu, we focused a lot on his international efforts, considering that the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal he won with Argentina is perhaps the most impressive accomplishment in the sport this century. Parker had a very nice international career for the French National Team. His team won the 2013 EuroBasket competition, and he is second on the tournament’s all-time scoring list. He also appeared in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, placing sixth both times.
Gasol has him beat, and it’s not even particularly close. Gasol and the Spanish National Team won the 2006 FIBA World Cup, 2009 and 2011 EuroBasket tournaments (beating France in the ‘11 final), and beat Parker as EuroBasket’s all-time leading scorer. He has also played in five Olympic games, winning two Silver and one Bronze medal.
At least Parker and France beat Gasol in the 2005 EuroBasket third-place game, right?
This means we will have to rely on Parker’s NBA accolades to build the case that he was better than Gasol and has a better Hall of Fame case. Luckily, Parker has the hardware to back it up.