The NBA equivalent of, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” occurred last week: if Tim Duncan retires , does anybody know about it?
Yes, Duncan retired. And unlike his peers he was quiet about it.
In today’s day and age where athletes (and celebrities) have to document their each and every move as if it has historic importance, the way Duncan exited the game was a refreshing reminder that you can achieve great success all while remaining humble.
There were no press conferences, a written article on The Player’s Tribune or a drawn out farewell tour for the Spurs power forward. Instead, the team announced his retirement last Monday in a tweet. Short and concise.
It was a fitting departure for someone who was quiet and reserved, yet displayed an elegance and fierce competitiveness on the court. He led by example. He was workmanlike. And he was a champion.
In 19 seasons, Duncan won five titles and was named Finals MVP in 2003 and 2005. He led the Spurs to a 1,027-438 regular season record – the best 19-year stretch in NBA history. His career stats: 19 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2.2 blocks per game; he ranks 14th all-time in NBA history with 26,496 points and sixth with 15,091 rebounds.
He did all this without drawing attention to himself. He was great without declaring himself to be great.
In talking about Duncan, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said that, “he really only cared about doing the best job he could basketball-wise… You don’t see Timmy beating his chest as if it’s the first time a human being dunked a basketball, as a lot of people do these days. He’s not pointing to the sky or glamming for the cameras, he just plays.” We can learn a lot from the way Duncan approached the game and apply them to our own lives.
In these blogs, we often take icons (like Duncan) and compare them to a sunglass brand that conveys a similar message and attitude. With Duncan, it was easy to find a comparison. He reminds us of Ray-Bans, a manufacturer that has been consistently excellent, year in and year out.
Ray-Bans are cool without being flamboyant. They are classy. Elegant. You always know what you are going to get with Ray-Bans and you can rest assured it will be championship caliber. Just like Tim Duncan.
Words of an Icon: “The time when there is no one there to feel sorry for you, or to cheer for you, is when a player is made.” – Tim Duncan