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San Antonio Spurs Retire Tim Duncan’s Number, Duncan Actually Speaks in Public for Four Minutes! (Videos)
The San Antonio Spurs retired Tim Duncan‘s no. 21 on Sunday in an emotional ceremony following the team’s 113-100 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Duncan retired last season having established himself as one of the greatest power forwards to ever play the game. In 19 NBA seasons—all with the Spurs—Duncan won four championships, two regular season MVP awards, and two NBA Finals MVP awards. He is San Antonio’s all-time leader in points (26,496), rebounds (15,092), blocked shots (3,020), and games played (1,392), and is 14th among the NBA’s all-time leading scorers.
Of course, Duncan was never the flashiest player. He also was a man of few words, and he did not have a cutting edge sense of style. As a result, while nobody ever questioned his dominance, he was the butt of a lot of jokes. Before the ceremony his former teammates were even placing bets as to whether his speech would last a full minute.
Ultimately the joke was on them, though, because Duncan’s speech lasted a full four minutes.
“I’m going to tell you this: I won a lot of bets tonight,” Duncan joked. “I didn’t wear jeans. I wore a sport coat…and I spoke for more than 30 seconds.”
Take a look:
“Thank you, San Antonio. Thank you.”
Tim Duncan expresses his gratitude to fans before his jersey is retired. https://t.co/C24fl0mc5M
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 19, 2016
While Duncan’s speech was epic by his standards, it was only half as long as Gregg Popovich‘s speech.
“”I don’t even want to talk about rebounds, points and all that sort of thing,” Popovich said. “This individual made it possible for everybody we brought in throughout the years to be a part of this culture and be a part of this program. As everybody said: His empathy, his ability to make people welcome, and lead quietly, but with dignity and gravitas, made him special beyond most anybody that you could imagine.
“This is the most important comment that I can make about Tim Duncan: I can honestly say to Mr. and Mrs. Duncan, who have passed, that that man right there is exactly the same person now as he was when he walked in the door.”
— NBA (@NBA) December 19, 2016
The Spurs didn’t just pay tribute to Duncan with speeches. On the court, players wore #21 socks:
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 18, 2016
Fans, meanwhile, got special edition Tim Duncan tee shirts:
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 18, 2016
All in all it was a hell of a night to honor one hell of a player.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]