Tony Parker's journey from relatively unknown 19-year-old point guard to now being considered one of the best point guards and players in the league didn't come without it's bumps and bruises.
The San Antonio Spurs' selection of Parker in the 2001 NBA Draft signaled the end of the Avery Johnson era in San Antonio, which didn't make it any easier to transition into one of the league's best teams.
Don Harris of News 4 San Antonio sat down with Parker after the Western Conference finals to talk about his NBA career.
"Avery Johnson was a great point guard and he was loved here. It’s always tough to come after somebody like that so it takes time," Parker said. "I think at the end of the day I paid my dues."
Parker, though, has had challenges throughout his career. From the Spurs trying to lure Jason Kidd to San Antonio the offseason after Parker and the Spurs won the championship to several other growing pains.
"It’s been an unbelievable ride, very special," Parker told Harris. "A lot of emotions and ups and downs, growing pains and stuff like that ,but it was all worth it and right now it feels great and I hope we can go all the way."
Parker also talked about likely the biggest challenge, having the team transitioned from Duncan to him. Duncan was the franchise player for several years and put the team on his back, and now Parker's been doing the same for the Spurs.
And like Duncan gave David Robinson about the best farewell gift you could ask for, going out on top in 2003, Parker is eager to start the NBA Finals so he can try to do the same for Duncan.