After Tim Duncan won his fifth NBA Championship earlier this month, many felt the 14-time all-star, two-time MVP and three-time Finals MVP could possibly call it quits. Instead, Duncan opted in on the final year of his contract, further widening the divide with his vanquished Finals opponent, LeBron James. Tim made an unusual appearance on Late Night with David Letterman Tuesday evening and explained his decision to come back for what could be one last hurrah.
When Dave asked why a player who has already accomplished so much over his 17-year career wouldn’t hang up the kicks, Duncan was candid, explaining that he would keep playing as long as he could be effective and help his team win:
“I thought about calling it a year and calling it a career, but I felt I could do — at least — one more year. I felt I was still effective; I felt I could still play and help the team.”
Despite decreased minutes to rest his legs and prepare him for the slog of the playoffs, where he lead the team in minutes played during their Finals win this past season, Duncan was just as effective as he’s been throughout his career. His PER still hasn’t ever dipped below 21, though this past season it reached its nadir at a — still remarkable — 21.3.
He can still dominate for stretch on any given night, and gave the small ball Heat fits on the block when the grey and black weren’t working it around the perimeter for what always seemed to be wide-open looks.
Dave asked Duncan about his post-playing career when he finally does decide to call it quits, and Duncan acknowledged that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had tried to talk him into teaching or staying on as an assistant, with Duncan saying, “I’m not sold on that,” before mentioning his love for cars, and the car shop he bought and tinkers around in during the off-season. It was obvious Duncan doesn’t know what to do when he finally decides he’s done.
Whenever Duncan does retire, we’ll always remember how comfortable with himself he’s always appeared after graduating from Wake Forest, but how ill-at-ease he is with the idea of celebrity.
What do you think?
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