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Tony Parker calls dream of owning Spurs 'a challenge'

Former San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker looks up during his retirement ceremony after the team's NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in San Antonio, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
It may one day be San Antonio Spurs owner Tony Parker. (AP)

Tony Parker’s iconic No. 9 is hanging from the rafters after the San Antonio Spurs retired it a week ago. Parker, a 17-year veteran of the franchise, has his eyes set on more.

In an interview with Yahoo Sports France’s Antoine Grynbaum, Parker touched on his dream as owner and president of ASVEL, a French professional men’s and women’s basketball club, and even becoming owner of the Spurs.

Translated from Yahoo Sports France:

Your ultimate dream, that ASVEL will become an NBA franchise in a transatlantic and global league?

TP: We have to see how the Euroloeague evolves. The bosses of the Euroleague will decide. I want to go as high as possible, so win the Euroloeague with ASVEL.

And become the owner of an NBA franchise ... Do you know who I’m talking about?

TP: President of the Spurs? Yes, it’s a challenge. The Clippers were acquired for $2 billion in 2014 [by former Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer]. How much did the ASVEL cost me? I’m not talking about that.

Parker, 37, first bought a stake in ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne in 2009 at the age of 26 three years after he and the Spurs played at ASVEL in NBA Europe Live. Parker played for the team in 2011 during the lockout. He also previously invested in Paris Basket Racing, a team he grew up with and played for before the NBA.

He became owner in 2014 and the team entered Euroleague play this season. He cautioned fans about expectations last month, noting they have the smallest budget in the league. “It’s a year of discovery for us,” he said, via L’Equipe.

A beloved fixture in San Antonio, Parker would likely be celebrated for purchasing the team. In June he told The Undefeated his dream was to one day own a team in the NBA and that his work in France is being viewed as experience. From The Undefeated:

“I definitely have the experience, and I love doing it. It takes a lot of work, but I love it. So maybe one day, if it’s the right opportunity and it’s something that I definitely want to do, I’m just gonna wait for the right opportunity.”

It would be expensive. The Spurs are currently valued at $1.62 billion, according to Forbes’ February 2019 list. The Los Angeles Clippers were the last team to sell for a record $2 billion in 2014. Current owners Julianna Hawn Holt and Peter Holt became principal shareholders of the team in 1996. After news of their divorce became public in February 2018, Hawn Holt made it clear there would be no sale of the team to divide their assets.

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