Last night the Oklahoma City Thunder dispatched the heavily favored San Antonio Spurs 113-99 to win the second round series 4-2. Given OKC’s blowout loss in Game 1, if anyone told you that they saw the Spurs dropping 4 of the next 5 games (including 2 at home), they’re full of you know what. The second best team in the league got rocked in the only upset so far in these playoffs.
However, given all that, that’s not the main story; at least, not the one I took from this series.
The real story of this series was the blatant decline of Tim Duncan. Duncan came into the series looking relatively spry for 40 and had completed one of his best defensive regular seasons in some time. No one expected see father time catch up with Duncan so drastically; but alas, here we are.
It was tough watching Duncan struggle to get up and down the floor; the poor guy couldn’t even make a layup anymore. In many ways, watching Duncan’s brutal performance was eerily similar to Peyton Manning’s harsh decline during the Broncos Super Bowl run last February. As a “millennial”, it’s been tough watching two of the greatest ever decline so rapidly and within a few months of each other.
During the postgame, Duncan didn’t specify on his future plans; however, many believe that he’s leaning towards retirement. If he does retire, he’ll join Manning, Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter, as not just champions but icons in their given sport; who have retired within the last two years.
Being 28, it’s hard to reconcile with the fact that all of the sports legends of my youth are retiring. The only one remaining at this point is Tom Brady.
Given his performance during these playoffs and specifically in the second round, I hope Duncan decides to retire. I’d hate to see him end his spectacular career in the same manner as Bryant; because that was downright dreadful to watch. Regardless of what Duncan chooses to do, there’s no doubt that he’s a first ballot hall of famer and arguably the best power forward ever. We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.
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