If this is the end, we’ll miss you

Published 11:54 am Monday, May 16, 2016

For 19 years Tim Duncan has roamed the court in San Antonio. “The Big Fundamental” as he became known was as unassuming as a superstar can possibly be. He is the greatest power forward in the history of the game and he simply showed up every single day and dominated in his quiet way.

The Spurs were eliminated from the playoffs Thursday night by the young and energetic Thunder who proved to be too much for the Spurs to handle over the last three games of the series.

There has been a lot of speculation that Tim Duncan played the last game of his career Thursday and that he will now quietly disappear from the game.

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Kobe Bryant required pomp and circumstance. He had the retirement tour. He hurt his team and stunted the development of his younger teammates because until the very end he took all the shots.

That was never the Duncan way and that is why it was never the Spur way. Duncan was the consummate teammate, the consummate pro and quite possibly the greatest player of his generation.

He won five championships, four of them with the big three of Manu Ginobli, who also may retire, and Tony Parker. They defined a generation of basketball with their unselfishness and teamwork. They took a game and turned it into a work of art with their passing and skills.

There have been countless times watching the Spurs that I have been speechless watching them play the game like they were painting a masterpiece. The grace and precision was beautiful to watch.

They helped usher in a new generation, which the Warriors have now taken to another level with insane shooting from outside which just opens more, massive passing lanes.

I grew up as a basketball fan watching the Big Fundamental dominate in the paint. A bank shot from the wing, a hook shot in the middle and dominant defense that was rarely recognized.

If Thursday night was truly the end of Duncan’s career a void will be left behind, but so will a massive mark on the game that can never be erased. I will miss watching him play. I will miss seeing the way that he handled himself on the court and was never heard from off it.

Athletes can be very in your face. They can be brash and full of glint and glamor, but any player coming into the league now should look at how Duncan played and emulate it. He was quiet, he went about his business, won rings and became the greatest ever at his position. Man, will I miss watching him play and I hope he comes back for another ride.


About Brandon O'Connor


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