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Tim Duncan’s No. 21 Retired By Spurs

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On Sunday night, the San Antonio Spurs finally retired the biggest number in franchise history.

Tim Duncan’s legendary career was given its first post retirement reward of many to come, by getting his no. 21 retired by the San Antonio Spurs. It only took 27 games since his retirement for San Antonio to give him this well deserved accolade.

After the Spurs 113-100 win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, Duncan was given his jersey retirement ceremony by some of his closest teammates and of course coach Gregg Popovich.

Becoming the eighth player in franchise history to have his jersey number retired, Duncan gave a long speech where he thanked some of the biggest supporters throughout his career that included: former teammates Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, David Robinson, Bruce Bowen, Sean Elliott, GM R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich.

Photo From NBA

Photo From NBA

Manu Ginobili spoke on one of his toughest times as a Spur, when he committed a costly turnover late in a game against the Kings in the playoffs in 2006 that would turn into a loss for San Antonio. Ginobili felt as though he let the team down, but the Spurs career leader in 17 different categories gave him 5 phone calls until he picked up and they went out to dinner and helped Ginobili forget all about his playoff woes. That’s the true definition of a teammate, “So since I have the opportunity now,” Ginobili on Duncan and their career together, “thank you, Timmy. Thank you very much for all these years. Thank you for the four rings I have in my home because of you. Thank you for making me better, and everybody that ever played with you.”

Spending his whole career (19 seasons) in San Antonio, marked him, along with John Stockton (19 seasons) and Kobe Bryant (20 seasons) as the only 3 players to play 19+ seasons all with one franchise.

Not only was the ceremony in honor of Duncan, but before the game the staff passed out socks with Duncan’s number on them for players to wear during the game to honor him.

Photo from Complex

Photo from Complex

Of course, it was only right for coach Popovich to say a few words about the 5x champion. Popovich spoke about carrot cakes, Duncan coming to his first practice with his shorts on backwards and how he was an “enigma.” He also told Duncan that when he’s ready, he can be the “coach of anything he wants.” Pop told a lot of behind the scenes things about Duncan and how he was always a respectful player and how, despite his 19 years with the organization, he stayed true to who he was. As Popovich got emotional and teared up, he stated “[Duncan] is exactly the same person now as he was when he walked in the door.”

The ceremony was hosted by Sean Elliott, who’s number is also retired by the Spurs. Elliott handing the mic to Duncan in his final words, much like Duncan has done throughout his career, he didn’t say much, but he said just enough.

“To R.C. and Pop, we’re all part of a puzzle. You guys put it together, and we’re out here every year, winning and winning championships and creating an atmosphere that we like to take some credit for, but you guys put [it] together. Thank you. Thank you, Coach Pop, for being more than a coach…for being more like a father to me. Thank you.”

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About Juwan M. Davis

Editor/Writer for NBALEAD. Born and raised in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Living in Los Angeles. Minnesota Timberwolves fan.
Twitter: @JuwanMalikDavis

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