Tim Duncan, the man who goes by the ho hum moniker, told Yahoo! Sports that he will finish his career where it started — deep in the heart of Texas as a member of the Spurs. And that news, while unsurprising, could be the last of its kind.
"Though I shouldn't say that — I have to threaten them that I'll leave," Duncan reportedly joked in regards to whether he'd test the free-agent waters when his contract is up after this season. "No … I'm not going anywhere. You can print that wherever you want to. I'm here and I'm a Spur for life."
For life. We've heard players praise their current team over the years and express similar sentiments, only to then leave for a more lucrative payday, a bigger challenge or an expanded role. Yet, Duncan — seeking his fifth NBA title in his 15th NBA season — has stayed firmly implanted in the shadow of The Alamo, hardly ever considering a move to greener pastures.
That's likely because there are no greener pastures in Duncan's mind, which is what he seemed to express in his conversation with Yahoo! Sports' Johnny Ludden.
"[But] we've all found a home here in San Antonio," Duncan reportedly said of himself, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili (the Spurs' version of The Big Three), "and we all love it here."
"It works," Duncan added. "There's no two ways about it. If something doesn't work, you break it up and you do something else. We've all accepted our roles, we've evolved over the years and we've all been happy with it because we believe."
That belief that Duncan references is something that's become rare in today's NBA. With the focus primarily on getting to a point in your career where you can test free agency and potentially land in a "marquee" market, the phrase "for life" is hardly muttered in conjunction with a team, let alone actually carried out. A franchise player is a franchise player; until his contract is up and he skips town.
Is that to say today's NBA stars who head for new teams are in the wrong? Not by any means.
Basketball is a profession, and players are therefore well within their rights to put themselves in what they deem to be the best position. But with so many moving parts, it is nice to see a guy stick around in the place where it all started every once in a while — if for no other reason than it serves as a reminder of what used to be in the NBA.
And Duncan truly does represent what "used to be." Look no further than his nickname, The Big Fundamental, as additional proof.
While Duncan going glass for a 15-foot bank shot doesn't hold the highlight-reel potential of a Blake Griffin throwdown or a Dwyane Wade-to-LeBron James alley oop, it not only counts just the same on the scoreboard, but it's proven to be a recipe for success (See Duncan's crowded trophy case, or the jewelry collection that he could once again add to in the coming weeks).
This all sounds like some rant you'd hear from a 75-year-old basketball aficionado that sits on a barstool, and insists that today's young whippersnappers can't fully grasp what the game is all about.
Nope, just the words of a 23-year-old hoops fan who recognizes that we might not see another one like Tim Duncan.
Whether Duncan plays one more year, three more years or five more years, I'll appreciate it. You should, too.
Photo via Flickr/Geoff Livingston
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