Tony Parker fails to defend Skills Competition title


TOYOTA CENTER — If Matt Bonner was like a kid in a candy store headed into All-Star Saturday, as San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich proclaimed, Tony Parker was the child rushing through his chores so he could go outside to play during the Skills Competition.

Perhaps looking ahead to other All-Star festivities, Parker attempted to breeze through the stations before completing the task at hand. As a result, Parker had to backtrack his steps as his initial passes at each of the first two stations missed their mark, costing Parker valuable time in a non-valuable event.

In doing so Parker violated one of the most important principles a point guard could have: be quick but don’t hurry.

Parker ceded his All-Star Skills Competition title to Portland Trail Blazers’ rookie point guard Damian Lillard, failing to put up much of a title defense in finishing the course in 48.7 seconds, besting only Atlanta’s Jeff Teague.

Leaving the event in the hands of younger players was fitting, as Parker was the last of his elite point guard peers to compete in the event. His All-Star weekend will begin in earnest when he competes in Sunday’s All-Star game, where he will perhaps avenge fallen teammate Matt Bonner while facing off against 3-Point Contest winner and new social media enemy Kyrie Irving.