Chris Paul or Tony Parker?
No, I’m not asking who you would rather be, or even play like. I honestly wish you a special and unique career, and hope to someday hear your name mentioned along with these men and other point guard greats.
And let me make one more thing clear to those of you who are reading this: I am not comparing Parker and Paul, or comparing either to Burke. I am simply thinking from the standpoint of fame, success, and accolades.
These two players specifically are dominant players in today’s game who can put their teams on their back and lead their squad to victory night after night. They are both successful point guards and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
Let me note a few things about both players.
Chris Paul has always been baller. He was named North Carolina Mr. Basketball coming out of High School and attended Wake Forest where he soon became the ACC rookie of the year. He came back for his sophomore season, had an All-American year, and catapulted himself into the Wake Forest record books.
Sound familiar at all?
He was drafted 4th overall by New Orleans and went on to win NBA Rookie of the Year. Paul became a superstar fast and remains one today. He is a six-time NBA All-Star and has been on both the All-NBA First Team and Defensive Team three times.
Tony Parker, on the other hand, is a breed of his own. The Frenchman played a few years in the French league before being noticed by NBA scouts and eventually drafted by San Antonio in 2001. Parker didn't create much of a buzz at first, but quickly made a name for himself after gaining the starting point guard job midway through his first season. Since then, Parker has “quarterbacked” the Spurs and made 5 All-Star appearances as well as made the All-NBA Second Team twice.
Sounds pretty nice too, right?
However, it’s time to get to some of the more serious stats. Let me bring up a few differences. According to hoopsworld.com, Chris Paul gets paid over 6 Million dollars more a season, and also has endorsements most athletes could only dream of. He’s been on the cover of NBA 2K, been a poster boy for Powerade, and is apart of Nike Team Jordan with his own signature shoe style. Tony Parker obviously has no worries when it comes to popularity and making money, but I also think it’s safe to say his endorsements aren’t as fancy. Parker recently left Nike to sign a deal with PEAK, a Chinese sports brand, where he also has his own shoe. I am not trying to downplay PEAK, but in my opinion it doesn’t compare to Jordan branded gear, at least in terms of basketball. Both players are filthy rich and live celebrity lifestyles, but I would say Chris Paul has more fame. I believe he is better received and more popular in the NBA.
On the other hand, the most important stat is that Tony Parker is a 3-Time NBA Champion and has even been named the NBA Finals MVP once. He has also just missed out on two other NBA titles, which may be forgotten as we live in a world where runner-up doesn’t matter. Tony Parker has been a part of the Spurs organization his whole career. Chris Paul has never made the finals, and is now apart of his second NBA organization. Even though he just re-signed a new deal with the Clippers, I do not think he will stay with them in the long run. Longevity will give you the greatest potential of winning a Championship, just ask John Stockton. No, he doesn’t have a NBA Finals ring, but he helped give the Jazz a chance. It just so happened that they ran into Michael Jordan a few too many times. Which actually reminds me of Tony Parker being one LeBron James away from winning a championship this year. Cue the debate…
You see, Chris Paul might get the majority of attention year after year, but Tony Parker usually finds himself deep in the playoffs, getting rings.
And when it comes to sports, to be "The Guy" you need to win the Championship.
Trey Burke, you are not only following the footsteps of Utah point guard greats, but also entering a league where the talent level at point guard is of great abundance. Time will only tell where your career will take you. I wish you complete success, as do many other Michigan faithful, much of Columbus, and now all of Utah.
But here is my question to you:
Will the success come from winning championships, or will it just come from being another dominant player year after year in the league?
Derek W. Devine