I use this Editorial section very briefly on this site, and its typically for moments in entertainment or the news that I feel is worth mentioning. Today marked an expected but still sad day for San Antonio Spurs fans. Longtime franchise player Tim Duncan, arguably the greatest point forward to ever play in the NBA, announced his retirement, nearly 20 years after he was drafted as the number one pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. Duncan has been playing professional basketball for as long as I’ve been on this earth, which is hard to believe. Tim Duncan has been a Spur for that long, and today is the first day where I won’t get to see Duncan regularly on television playing for my favorite basketball team.
My history with the Spurs is about the same as all of my friends. We all grew up in Austin, so naturally we rooted for the Spurs. They were only 90 minutes (or less with good traffic) down the road in San Antonio, and during my lifetime, they were really, really good. So good that under Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs won five NBA titles, with Duncan being the MVP of three of those finals (not to mention two regular season MVP awards). Watching Duncan and the Spurs get revenge on the Miami Heat the year after the Heat beat them in the 2013 Finals was one of the more satisfying parts of my teenage years, and the 2014 summer was as great and memorable because of the Spurs winning those finals. A little bit of me would say its a shame that Duncan was never able to get that sixth ring in the past two seasons, but five NBA titles is impressive, to say the least.
A little over a year ago, I turned 18 years old, and my dad took me down to San Antonio for my birthday and went to a Spurs game. I had never gone to a game before, and really wanted to that year because there were rumors of Duncan retiring after the 2014-15 season. I also really wanted to go just because I’ve been a fan my entire life, and it would be a terrific experience. When we went, none of the big players were injured. Not only Duncan, but Manu, Tony, and Kawhi were all healthy and playing during the game. They were playing the Thunder that game, who were struggling big time since Kevin Durant had been injured all season. The Spurs ended up blowing out the Thunder by about 40 points, but it was just fascinating to watch from the crowd. Watching the hype video and lineup being called by the announcer was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life. The hair on my neck has rarely stood that high when the announcer said Tim Duncan’s name and number. There was my childhood sports here, several rows away from where I was sitting. It was equally cool seeing my other heroes like Tony and Manu play, but seeing Duncan play was unworldly.
I can’t remember who said this, but it was around the time last week when Kevin Durant left the Thunder in favor for the Golden State Warriors. This commentator brought up the fact that Duncan and Kobe Bryant, who recently retired this past season, are a dying breed. There will never be another player in the NBA that will stick with a singular NBA franchise for as long as Duncan did with the Spurs. Durant seemed to be on that path, but blew it in favor for joining the overrated Bay Area basketball dynasty. Duncan was a player that stuck with his team, and brought a semi-struggling sports franchise into one of the greatest sports successes of all time. The city of San Antonio and the State of Texas will always welcome Tim Duncan with open arms. He’s royalty to us, and can you argue with that statement with all that he’s accomplished? Anyways, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the years and memories that you brought us. We love you.
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