There is no question that San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan is a first ballot Hall of Famer. After 19 seasons in the NBA, all of which have been with the team that drafted him No. 1, when is the time for one to hang it up?
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If you were Duncan’s closest friend and he came up to you and asked you for advice on whether he should retire from the game or continue playing, what would you say? The panel over at the
, gave their response on the very question. TNT Analyst David Aldridge and NBA.Com Sekou Smith were two of the nine polled.
Aldridge starts it off and he makes some great points within his answer. He states that he would tell Duncan “It is time”.
I tell him it’s time. Could he squeeze one more year out of those knees? Maybe. Could the Spurs make one last stand next season and make one more Finals? Perhaps. But what would the point be? You’re on the shortest of short lists of greatest big men to ever play the game. After Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who’s definitely ahead of you? You have five rings, and you led one of the greatest comebacks from the emotional dead in league history, after blowing that 3-2 lead to Miami in the 2013 Finals.
April 7, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan (21) shoots the basketball against Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli (31) during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Over the course of his 19 seasons, Duncan has had many memories to look back on if he were to walk away from the game. Five rings and arguably one of the best power forwards to grace the hardwood. Duncan left everything he had on the floor during his career. This season, it looked as if father time caught up to Duncan quicker than one would expect.
During the 2014-15 playoffs, Duncan was rejuvenated. He looked as if he could play a few more years as he averaged just under 18 points a game. During the playoffs this year, he lost it all. He did show glimpses of the old Duncan, but in all reality, it caught up to him and he looked worn down.
Smith went another route. With the length of time and miles on his body, what better question to ask than, how he feels physically and emotionally. After games, Duncan is seen waddling off the floor more than a steady walk. He has taken a beating over the years.
“Big fella, how do you feel, physically and emotionally?You need to take stock of these things and sit back and take your time making a decision on what to do next. If anyone that’s played this game has earned that right, it’s you. As the backbone of the Spurs’ organization, you have always put the franchise and the team first. But this one time, I need you to think about Timmy and what will satisfy you at this late stage of your career. If you think you have more to give, go for it. If not, you don’t owe anyone another second of your time. In the end, do you!”
What more does he have to prove? If he does come back it could possibly be more of a mentoring position with the team. As hard as it is to imagine Duncan’s time in a Spurs’ uniform coming to an end, he needs to ask himself one question that could possibly make his mind up.
Do you still enjoy it?