Parker, Spurs prepare for emotional reunion

Mark Sobhani / National Basketball Association / Getty

After 17 seasons and four NBA championships, six-time All-Star Tony Parker left the San Antonio Spurs this past offseason, joining the Charlotte Hornets on a two-year, $10-million deal.

Parker will make his much-anticipated return Monday as a member of the visiting Hornets and both sides are prepared for an emotional night.

"He's a special young man,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich told Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. "I always felt like a second daddy to him over the years, and he's been like a son in all kinds of ways."

When Popovich's wife died last April, the veteran guard was right there helping the coach and his family through it. The bench boss acknowledged it will be weird seeing Parker in another uniform.

Meanwhile, it seems Parker has been anticipating the reunion since he first left San Antonio.

"I won’t be surprised if there are tears in my eyes," Parker told the Express-News shortly after his free-agent departure.

While Kawhi Leonard was booed with every touch of the ball in his first game back in San Antonio, guard Patty Mills expects Parker to receive the opposite reaction.

"He is going to get a very, very warm welcome," Mills said, according to Orsborn. "The city loves him. They always have, and vice versa. … He's excited about returning."

Parker averaged 15.8 points and 5.7 assists per contest in 1,198 games with the Spurs. He was also a four-time All-NBA choice and won Finals MVP honors during the team's championship run in 2007.

The 36-year-old may be donning teal and white on Monday, but it's clear his first team holds a special place in his heart.

"The Spurs will always be home,” he said. "San Antonio will always be a big part of my life. At the end, I just felt like the Hornets wanted me more."

Parker, Spurs prepare for emotional reunion
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