After a career defined by fundamental skill, humility, and an indifference toward the spotlight, Tim Duncan retired just as he played: Quietly. A statement from the San Antonio Spurs organization made the announcement, and Duncan declined to do a farewell press conference.
But it turns out Duncan wasn't entirely media silent. The day after, he gave a surprising one-hour interview to Rashidi Clenance, an on-air personality for a Caribbean radio station. (Duncan grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands.)
Here are the highlights from that insightful interview.
On What He Did On The Day Of His Retirement
"I got a chance to watch [Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's] interview yesterday, and I about lost it on that one." Duncan says he spent most of the day watching the Discovery Channel.
On His Calm Demeanor On The Court
"I think I've always approached [the game] a different way. I think competitiveness is taken in a different way by different people. I'm not a yeller and a screamer, a jumper and a pusher.
"I've been competitive from day one. It's in my nature. Whether people recognize that or not, I don't know how they can't. I'm not gonna go out there and try to hurt somebody or win by all means. But if it's up in the air, I'm gonna try harder than you to get it done."
On Winning Back-To-Back MVP Awards
"At that point, I believed in what I could do. Being a competitor, I wanted it year after year after year. I remember being disappointed years after that when I wasn't able to be MVP. I believed in what I was. I didn't believe that would translate into any of the five championships. But I knew that I could affect the game."
Tim Duncan statement pic.twitter.com/W5VxFAmev0
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) July 13, 2016
On Whether He Will Stay Retired
"As of right now sitting here, I'm pretty sure I'm going to stay retired. I could probably still play, but it's time. I started not enjoying myself.
"It wasn't fun at times. I always said when that point comes when it's not fun anymore, I'm done."
On His Legacy
"I don't know how their rankings go or anything else. I don't really care where the rankings go, I'm in the conversation. I'm OK with that. That's above and beyond anything I ever thought I'd ever be. That in itself is an honor."
On What He Wants To Say To Spurs Fans
"Just thank you. I don't think there's anything better to say than thank you. We've been blessed. The fans here have just been so awesome in their support and their love for the team. Sometimes people stop me, and sometimes it's not time for people to stop me. But everybody's always shown so much appreciation and love for myself and the team.
We really have some of the best fans in the NBA, in sports in general. Here, you get a consistent base, people support, people love the Spurs and that's special. That's not everywhere."