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Spurs power forward Tim Duncan spoke for the first time on Wednesday since announcing his retirement two days prior, expounding upon his 19-year NBA career and explaining why he made the decision to leave the game.
“To all of you in here, the fans, all of San Antonio, thank you,” Duncan said. “The love and support is overwhelming, especially over the last couple of weeks. I’ve heard from teammates, from the guys I’ve been with forever, to guys I played a year or two with, to these jokers over here; just an amazing response, and just an overwhelming amount of love from these guys for what I meant to them. And it doesn’t even explain how much they meant to me because I got so much more from you guys, from my teammates, than they can explain that they got from me. And I know that.”
Former Spurs power forward Tim Duncan sat in attendance as his team defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 113-100 on Sunday, before attending his jersey retirement ceremony.
“The big thing that differentiates [Duncan] from the other superstars is that he wanted to be coached just like the 12th or 13th guy on the team,” Gentry said. “You’re able to get on him, you’re able to do a lot of things, and he’s just a tremendous guy. I was in Phoenix most of the time, and he made life miserable for us there. So we kind of wish he would’ve retired about eight years ago. I think we would have been much better off in Phoenix.
“This is the most important comment that I can make about Tim Duncan: I can honestly say to Mr. and Mrs. Duncan, who have passed, that that man right there is exactly the same person now as he was when he walked in the door.”
Anybody who spends significant amount of time around Popovich knows he’s prone to bouts of impatience. Especially when good food and wine are on the line. But anyone who has witnessed Pop build a perennial contender in the cheap NBA jerseys over the past 20 years — alongside general manager R.C. Buford and the Spurs ownership — also knows he likes to plan ahead.
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In addition to losing Duncan, the Spurs are in the midst of a succession in ownership. Julianna Hawn Holt replaced her husband, Peter Holt, as chairman and CEO of the franchise last March in what was considered somewhat of a bombshell of an announcement. Several within the organization say the new chairman and CEO has operated similarly to her predecessor in that she has given Buford and Popovich the same basketball autonomy granted by her now-retired husband.
“I think you build your franchise not around just one player, no matter how exceptional that player is,” Gasol told ESPN. “That’s what gives you the continuity. You build a culture that other great players want to be a part of, understanding that they’re probably going to have to give up a part of themselves in their success and recognition. But the ultimate recognition, I think, is to win championships. That’s what speaks over any individual accomplishment, especially in sports. So as long as you have that perspective, you can come here and be a part of this team.”
Tim Duncan never wanted the spotlight, only the trophies. He never wanted the endorsements, only the camaraderie. He never wanted the accolades, only the collective achievement.
Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement about Duncan’s announcement, saying: “Tim Duncan is one of the most dominant players in NBA history. His devotion to excellence and mastery of the game led to five NBA championships, two regular-season MVP awards and a place among the all-time greats, while his understated selflessness made him the ultimate teammate.
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This week, voices around the league will pay tribute to Tim Duncan, highlight his achievements, and pontificate on his legacy. They’ll praise his longevity and consistency, a man who weathered a stream of injuries and ultimately posted one of the finest seasons of his career at age 36.
A four-year star at Wake Forest, Duncan was the No. 1 pick by the Spurs in the 1997 draft. He made an immediate impact, winning the NBA Rookie of the Year award and earning All-NBA First-Team honors, the first of 10 selections in his career. He led the Spurs to a championship in his second season, in 1998-99, and was named Finals MVP.
San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan announced his retirement early Monday after 19 seasons with the team that picked him first overall in the 1997 NBA draft. He’s considered one of the greatest players in league history, and many took to Twitter to pay respect to Duncan’s career, legacy and impact on the league.
For a man who was so inaccessible to those looking in from the outside, Tim Duncan was an everyman. Most of our lives and careers emulate Duncan’s: We do the work quietly and diligently and don’t have much cause to glory-hound. The job is the job, and if you’re lucky, you do it because you love it, but not for any external affirmation, other than you want your partner, family and friends to be proud because it’s nice to be admired by the people in the world you care most about.
The San Antonio Spurs have been notified that Tim Duncan has decided to opt into his $5.6 million contract for 2016-17, but that he’s still undecided about whether to return for a 20th NBA season, a source close to the situation told ESPN’s Michael C. Wright.
It appears the national broadcast contract — far and away the single biggest source of revenue for the league — wouldn’t suffer from a schedule that was less dense. The public would witness games of greater magnitude in which stars haven’t played more than twice or three times in the past week. And the most pronounced changes would be a lesser likelihood that a big name is sitting on the bench in a suit, and a greater likelihood that Rose, Hill and McGrady could have added to the NBA’s constellation of superstars. A Hollywood studio that generates only one or two blockbusters a year incites the ire of investors. One with four or five can claim supremacy over the industry.