There was no question “if” the San Antonio Spurs would retire Tim Duncan’s No. 21 — he is the greatest player in franchise history.
But there were two other questions: When? And would Duncan himself show up?
The answers are Dec. 18 and yes.
The Spurs officially announced the jersey retirement plans on Wednesday, it will take place next month after San Antonio plays New Orleans.
Duncan is, for my money, the greatest power forward ever to play the game: five NBA titles, two-time NBA MVP, three-time Finals MVP, 15-time All-NBA selection, 15 times NBA All-Defensive Team, 15 time All-Star, and the resume just goes on and on. More than that, the Spurs could not have built the most stable, copied organization in the NBA — and maybe all of professional sports — without the unassuming Duncan at its core.
But Duncan doesn’t crave the spotlight — he didn’t even attend his own retirement press conference. Will he attend the jersey retirement?
We will discuss whether he shows up for his Hall of Fame induction in five years, but he probably makes that too (in a class that will also have Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett).
Seven other Spurs have their numbers retired: Bruce Bowen (12), Sean Elliott (32), George Gervin (44), Avery Johnson (6), Johnny Moore (00), David Robinson (50) and James Silas (13).