It’s a day that Spurs Nation is dreading.
Tim Duncan’s retirement will be an eventuality — like it is with every professional athlete.
As he has experienced a renaissance this year in his 15th season, Duncan has showed no signs of slowing down.
An intensive and rigorous off-season conditioning program has helped him improve his scoring and rebounding averages from last year.
Duncan’s dunks are up as it appears he is more spry. The Spurs captain recently had an 18-game stretch of consecutive double-figure scoring games. It came during a time when the Spurs were the league’s hottest team over the last two months.
Yahoo Sports NBA writer Marc Spears recently talked to Duncan about his retirement, a subject that Duncan told him.”
Duncan told Spears that he hasn’t had any health concerns in the lockout season.
“I thought I prepared well and was in great shape coming in,” Duncan told Yahoo. “I’ve felt good throughout.”
The Spurs’ recent surge has helped keep Duncan’s competitive juices flowing with 26 victories in their last 31 games. He’s seen the team’s core rebuilt with nine players with a maximum of two seasons of NBA experience, including three rookies.
“It’s fun having a bunch of new guys, seeing them interact,” Duncan said. “You feel like the old guy sometimes. But I got some old heads with me, too, so it’s good.”
Those would include veteran teammates Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who has the longest coaching tenure in the league.
Parker and Popovich had some interesting comments for Spears about Duncan’s eventual retirement.
“He doesn’t know how many years he wants to play,” Parker told Yahoo. “But it’s going to be weird the day he retires. It’s going to be very different in San Antonio.”
It also promises to be an emotional day for Popovich, Duncan’s only professional head coach.
“We’ve been together for so long. Fifteen years now,” Popovich told Yahoo. “It has gone through my head, but I don’t allow myself to think about what that’s going to mean. I’ll just deal with it when it happens.”
Duncan is making $21.1 million per season in his contract which will expire after the season and it’s hard to believe that he won’t re-sign with the team.
If his performance approaches this season, he likely has several more years of productive play in front of him.