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Littlefield: Retirement Advice For Tim Duncan03:06
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Is it time to wave goodbye to Spurs great Tim Duncan? (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Is it time to wave goodbye to Spurs great Tim Duncan? (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
This article is more than 4 years old.

A lot of people have been weighing in on whether Tim Duncan should retire.

Duncan, a crucial part of the San Antonio Spurs teams that have won five championships, turned 40 shortly before the Spurs were eliminated from the current playoffs.

My smartass response is that he should retire as soon as possible. Tim Duncan is from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Looks to me like a great place to retire.

My smartass response is that he should retire as soon as possible. Tim Duncan is from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Looks to me like a great place to retire, even if you haven’t been paid about a quarter of a billion dollars over the past two decades, as Tim Duncan has.

My measured response is that the decision is up to Duncan. But that’s naïve. When the perspective retiree is an athlete, his or her decision is everybody’s business.

Fans have opinions. They’re rarely shy about sharing them. Columnists, commentators, and hosts of call-in shows are paid to express their opinions on issues like this, never mind how personal they are.

Tim Duncan, twice the MVP, is better prepared to weather the unsolicited advice than most athletes. He and his teammates have won everything there is to win multiple times. His career has lasted 14.2 years longer than that of the average NBA player, and he’s old enough to be wise, at least about such matters as slowing down.

My advice, which I offer secure in the knowledge that Tim Duncan will regard it with precisely the concern it deserves, is: “Don’t retire unless you want to do it.”

If you still enjoy playing basketball — even if only the parts that don’t involve drills, weights, traveling, and hearing a lot of advice about what you should do — don’t retire.

And don’t retire unless you’ve got a plan for the days following your retirement. I wasn’t kidding about the Virgin Islands. They’re great, especially St. John, and I’m not even getting free airfare for saying so. Still, my guess is that you can only go to the beach, play golf, and admire the sunset from your veranda for so many days before you begin wondering… why you didn’t start doing those things years ago.

No, no, I mean… before you begin to wonder how else you can occupy all that time that basketball used to fill.

But if, by chance, you’ve got all that stuff figured out, good luck on that veranda. I — and lots of other people — have enjoyed watching you at work.

Related:

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

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