Tony Parker: Becoming the 2007 NBA Finals MVP
The road to the Hall of Fame was anything but straightforward for Tony Parker. San Antonio used their lone first-round pick in the 2001 NBA Draft on the unheralded teenager, and Gregg Popovich ushered him into the starting lineup five games into his rookie season. No one was tougher on the young point guard than his head coach, but he pushed him to become one of the best players of his generation.
While Parker was a co-star who lived in the enormous shadow of Tim Duncan, he took the reins as the face of the franchise with a phenomenal playoff run that culminated in a series sweep of the Cavaliers in the 2007 NBA Finals. All those tongue-lashings from Popovich paid dividends in the long run as the pair formed a unique bond that kept the Spurs offense chugging along like a well-oiled machine.