You… you get it guys? You get it? Because Tim Duncan retired yesterday? And didn’t write a letter on The Players Tribune… And didn’t do a season long retirement tour… And didn’t even host a god damn press conference to say goodbye. Shit, the Spurs had to drag a tearful Coach Pop out there in front of the media this afternoon to give Duncan’s press conference for him.
Awful jokes aside… how perfect was that, huh? Yesterday morning Timmy was here. And just like that, he was gone.
The best of his generation. The most impactful player since Jordan. The winningest athlete since Russell. And even during the slowest sports week of the year, where we’re forcing conversations about Summer League and the fucking Home Run Derby, his retirement came and went like a fart in the wind. We’re barely 24 hours from the announcement and the story is all but over. Timmy is gone. No goodbye. No see ya later. No nothing. Motherfucker up and left in a way that was all too befitting of his 19 year career.
Since, in reality, this is the last time we’ll talk about Duncan until he’s inducted into the Hall Of Fame, I figured I’d throw my little homage in here for the most important NBA player between Jordan and Lebron. Yeah, Kobe scored more points, and Dirk changed the way we look at big men, and KG did what he did defensively. Nobody is taking anything away from them. But what Duncan brought to the table in terms of consistency… in terms of team unity… in terms of longevity… there’s nobody that can compete with that. Shit, not even the few players considered “above him” historically can’t compete with that. Not Jordan or Magic or Bird. Nor Russell or Wilt. Kareem… well yeah okay maybe Kareem’s run is comparable. Kareem’s consistency is fucking outrageous in retrospect. And Lebron, I guess Lebron has as good a chance as anyone to remain at this high a level. But other than them… other than those two… nobody remained at such a high level the whole time the way Duncan did. Nobody bred success the way Tim Duncan did with those Spurs team. Nobody was as beloved by his teammates, his coaches, his organization. Nobody can present as complete and fulfilled of a career as Tim Duncan can.
He’s not the GOAT, but there’s arguably no one who’s career you’d trade his for. Start to finish, he did everything right. One team. One coach. A very distinct, rarely changing core group of signature teammates. Everything you could ever want from a franchise player. He handled his business, he won, and he never asked for anything in return. No special ceremony. No documentary. No fanfare at all. Nothing. Just the privacy to end things on his own terms, exactly like this, without any kind of obligation to give some tell all interview or accept stupid gifts at every road game.
And no one has earned that more than him.
So goodbye Tim. Enjoy your retirement. Enjoy swimming in the waters of the Virgin Islands or hiding out at your home in San Antonio or whatever it is you choose to do. And enjoy living out of sight out of mind from out memories. Because we’ll all forget you retired the second we finish this blog.