Sports are incredible. They can leave you with once in a lifetime memories, good and bad. They elicit some of the best of humanity and some of the worst. Love of teams and characters from all over the world can spark riots and parades.
When a sports legend retires and leaves the game, something similar happens. How you feel about that person changes, for better or worse. Everything they ever did good is exaggerated and bad is forgotten, or in some rare occasions the reverse happens.
I try to remember people and players as they were.
Today Tim Duncan announced his retirement from basketball. 19 years with one team is incredible. It is also in the same year that Kobe retired. Tim’s was much quieter compared to Kobe’s season long farewell tour and final game circus. That is how Tim played too, never overstated, but always impactful.
The league will not be the same.
When I look back at Duncan’s career all I can think of are the once in a lifetime memories that I mentioned earlier. But in Tim’s case, they are almost all bad memories.
With my love hate relationship with the Suns, Duncan has been more than a spoiler. His Spurs team has single-handedly destroyed multiple season of championship hopes in Phoenix.
As an individual player I will remember him more for his disgusted look on his face every single time a foul was called on him. His eyes would literally look like they were ready to pop out of his head, palms upturned asking, “what did I do?”
You hacked the crap out of Steve Nash Tim, that is what you did.
Or the circle arm sweep move he would do with the ball, where his only intention was to draw a foul on the defender.
Or the time he jumped off the bench during an altercation and it was ignored. I will start crying if I talk about that game too much so I will leave it at that.
Let’s be honest though. These are really just bad excuses from a fan of a team that Tim abused. It was probably his 20 points and 10 rebounds a game that had something to with beating my Suns every year.
His perfect chemistry with Coach Popavich and his two other co-stars. I won’t say their names, since they are still in the league and I don’t have to say nice things about them yet.
So while I will remember him as cry baby Duncan, he will go down as a top 5 or 6 player of all time. I am glad I lived in an era that saw both Kobe and Duncan at their best.
I just wish it didn’t have to happen at the same time as the greatest Suns teams to ever play together.