What Tim Duncan means for basketball, for San Antonio, and for me
With one minute and twenty seconds left in a thrilling Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the transitioning San Antonio Spurs and the electric Oklahoma City Thunder, a fearless Russell Westbrook drives to the rim to deepen the flood of points that submerged the Spurs into a postseason elimination.
The final buzzer sounds. 113-99, Spurs lose.
Hands are shaken as the roar of the Oklahoma City fans sound throughout the entire stadium. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich immediately congratulates first-year Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, and the camera then focuses on one man. One individual who helped transform the San Antonio Spurs into a dynasty. The man respectfully known as The Big Fundamental.
The Thunder have now advanced to the Western Conference Finals, yet the commentators, spectators and Thunder fans gaze admirably at Tim Duncan. All understand that the end of a legend’s career may have just been witnessed.
I was about five years old when I knew who you were. I recall you being “the big guy” and that was expressed in every aspect. Physically, nationally, and globally, you let the world know who was the best power forward in the game of Basketball.
As I grew, you grew as well. In ways that transpired an endless love for the Spurs. This love, this passion wasn’t only mine, but also for the city of San Antonio.
A man who exhibited such a calmness that automatically established a sense of respect from players around the world. You never needed the spotlight and you never cared for the world to be surrounding you.
You gave fans everywhere reason to believe superstars are people too.
You have endured 20 years of giving your life to basketball. You have inspired the next generation, and future generations to come. You have united a city of cultural diversity in San Antonio. You have given everything to us. And now, a decision you must make is coming to a close. As fans around the world, we can’t imagine a Spurs wooden floor without you on it. We do however appreciate the endless love you have expressed towards basketball and the city of San Antonio.
We will be okay if you decide to retire. Because we will never forget the values and leadership qualities you’ve illustrated to the world.
What is amazing is how you’ve managed to inspire people not only from the qualities of your craft, but as a human. As a humble man seeking the best for his team you’ve given kids, men and women around the world a model to mirror.
Now, every sports program on television repeats the same question about your future with the NBA. Rumors are thrown around like lousy jokes around a campfire. No one can unravel the decision you are going to make, but I speak on behalf of a world full of basketball fanatics that you, The Big Fundamental, have forever changed the game of basketball. And that’s what matters right now.
Whether you decide to stay or leave, thank you for your dedication, passion and love for the beautiful game of basketball.
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