Even the greatest of sports superstars has to retire eventually, and Contributor Paul Mecurio thinks he's just seen one of the classiest examples yet of just how it should be done:
Something truly remarkable happened this past week.
Five-time NBA champion and two-time league MVP Tim Duncan, of the San Antonio Spurs, retired after 19 seasons with one team.
The best power forward to ever play the game.
And so you know I'm objective, this pains me to say, since I am a die-hard Boston Celtics fan and there was a certain other forward who wasn't chopped liver ... What was remarkable was not the fact Tim Duncan retired, but the way in which he retired, and how emblematic that is of the type of player and man he is.
He announced his retirement on a cell phone in what looks like his mom's dining room! In a T-shirt! Tim, c'mon, would a suit and tie kill ya?
No over-the-top press conference, no parade of unneeded retirement gifts, no Kobe-esque six-month, self-coronation retirement tour around the NBA. Just a cell phone and a mic.
And did you catch why he retired? It "wasn't fun anymore." Fun!? Tim, have you been transported here from another time? Modern era, big-time sports isn't about "fun"; it's about sneaker deals, unrestrained bad behavior, and Twitter followers.
And that is what is truly remarkable about Tim Duncan. He's a throwback to a by-gone era, when players didn't care about any of that stuff. They put team ahead of self, and were interested in quietly being great at their vocation through an incredible work ethic, with none of the fanfare or narcissistic behavior we see in so many athletes today.
My son loves sports; sports has a big affect in shaping him. I can say Tim Duncan is the man I'd love my son to emulate ... off the court that is. (My kid is 5'6" with no signs of growing, so I don't think he's going to be winning dunk contests any time soon.)
Yes, Tim Duncan might be the last of his breed. Incredibly hard working, dedicated, ego-less, principled.
In a word ... remarkable.
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