Thursday, October 30, 2008

Parker: My biggest role will be to get everybody involved

Note out of San Antonio about Spurs PG Tony Parker taking on more of a leadership role this season:

I’m trying to establish myself as a leader, and be more vocal,” Parker said. “I want to take more responsibility. My biggest role this year will be to get everybody involved.”

That part of Parker’s game has taken a while to come out of its shell. When he arrived as a 19-year-old rookie in 2001, he experienced considerable and understandable trouble imposing himself on a team overflowing with veterans.

Somehow, he sensed, a 37-year-old NBA graybeard like Terry Porter wasn’t going to be taking basketball advice from a teenager fresh from Paris. At the time, Parker felt it better to be seen, but not heard.

“When you have David Robinson and Steve Kerr and all those guys, you just watch and you listen,” Parker said. “Now, this is my eighth year, (and) we’ve got a lot of young guys. It’s my job to help them.”

Popovich saw signs of that leadership emerging in Parker last season. Finally comfortable in his own NBA sneakers, Parker had no qualms about bossing around even a future Hall of Famer like Tim Duncan.

He’s being really demanding of his teammates, and not worrying about hurting somebody’s feelings,” Popovich said. “He’s not here to win king of the Fun-a-rama. He’s here to make sure everybody does their job.”