Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Shhh! Exit (quietly) Tim Duncan


At a press conference yesterday, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says, "I'm trying to wrap my head around why I'm standing here and he's not. [Pause] And we all know why."

"During interviews with Tim Duncan (a phrase roughly equivalent to 'during photo sessions with the snow leopard') the Spurs' immortal never resisted an opportunity to josh with a teammate who happened to walk by. It certainly disturbed the rhythm of the conversation—if it can be said that one rhythmically conversed with Duncan—but he wasn't sending a message to the reporter, but rather to the teammate. It said: I'm not above you. I'd rather be with you than sitting here talking about myself. So keep the shower running, and I'll be there soon.

"Duncan hid in plain sight when he was on the court, so his departure was destined to be a non-action event, coming in a press release (with no direct quotes from Duncan or anyone else) from a Spurs public relations department that over the years has figured out how to deal with his Howard Hughes ways. Maybe, just maybe, there will be a press conference down the road, during which a fidgety Duncan will likely be checking the exits after a few vanilla comments. . . ."

-- Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum, in "Spurs'
immortal Tim Duncan retires without a whimper

by Ken

Of course the physical gifts were prodigious, but then, so was what he got out of them. It seems nutty to think of a player of Tim Duncan's physical presence and accomplishments as having a "quiet" career, but good heavens, think what it means to have played at that level for that long, for one team and one coach, in a system where it was the team that mattered and expectations were always high -- qualities that exude a special poignancy for those of us doomed to dwell in the service area of the NY Knicks, the Franchise That Hope Abandoned. And then to bow out so quietly, not just with no Farewell Tour, but with no farewell -- "without a whimper," as the head on Jack McCallum's nice appreciation puts it.

Here's how Jack winds up his piece:
That sturdy, I’ve-got-everybody’s-back element is now gone from the Spurs, who were often (and rightly) held up as one of the sports world’s model franchises. But it’s gone from the game, too. It’s hard to imagine that the Duncan blueprint will be duplicated—a four-year college player who comes into the league with a skill set almost fully developed, never bows to free-agent seduction, wins consistently, doesn’t change on or off the court, and then almost tiptoes out the door, no doubt flashing a sly smile at how easily he escaped.

But listen to this, Tim Duncan: Just because you won’t miss us doesn’t mean we won’t miss you.

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At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And then to bow out so quietly, not just with no Farewell Tour, but with no farewell

Beautiful and brilliant, Ken. Glad you're back!


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