Four-time NBA champion Tony Parker had a lengthy run with the San Antonio Spurs, the same team that held the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. The Spurs selected French phenom Victor Wembanyama with the top pick, a decision that Parker said is a positive sign for the franchise’s future.

“I know he wanted to go to San Antonio, and so it feels like it was destiny, with the French connection we built over the years,” Parker told The Associated Press on Friday. “And he is going to keep the legacy going. It’s pretty cool.”

NBA legend Tony Parker attends a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, on March 16, 2022.
NBA legend Tony Parker attends a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, on March 16, 2022. (Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

Parker, who spent 17 seasons in a Spurs uniform, also described San Antonio as the “perfect place” for the 19-year-old Wembanyama.

The 7-foot-4 big man enters the NBA with lofty expectations. Wembanyama dominated in his final season with Metropolitans 92 in France, where he led all players in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.

Victor Wembanyama poses for a photo with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected No. 1 overall by the San Antonio Spurs during the NBA Draft in New York on Thursday.
Victor Wembanyama poses for a photo with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected No. 1 overall by the San Antonio Spurs during the NBA Draft in New York on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Wembanyama brings a special blend of size and athleticism to the league.

“He is unique,” Parker said. “His set of skills is unique. You know, we never saw a guy, a 7-5 (player), shooting like that, and having the dribbling skills that he has, and the way that he plays the game, it is just different. I can’t wait to see him play with the Spurs.”

Wembanyama previously played for Villeurbanne, a club that Parker owns, and they have developed a friendly relationship. “So when the Spurs got the lottery pick, we talked, exchanged texts, and it was the same last night,” Parker said. “I’m very happy for him and I will definitely try to support him.”

Asked what kind of advice he would give to Wembanyama for a quick adaptation to the Spurs and the NBA, Parker said the kid just needs to be himself.

Victor Wembanyama talks to the media the day before the NBA Draft in New York on Wednesday.
Victor Wembanyama talks to the media the day before the NBA Draft in New York on Wednesday. (David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

“And he is already like that,” Parker said. “He does not care about the pressure and expectation, and I think the Spurs is the perfect place for him. He is in very good hands.”

After matching a league record of 22 straight playoff appearances, San Antonio has not made the postseason the last four seasons, the longest drought in the franchise’s 50-year history. Parker believes that Wembanyama’s arrival will help rebuild a competitive team.

“That’s a good first piece,” he said. “Now he is going to need some help, to win a championship in the NBA is the hardest thing you are going to have to do. So with the Spurs, we’ve got a lot of work to do now to try to bring pieces around him that are going to fit, for us to be able to contend for a championship.”

Wembanyama’s rise to the top will also benefit France, Parker said.

“It’s great for basketball, it’s great for French basketball,” Parker said. “Obviously, the future years look bright for us with the national team.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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