In a stunning development, Tim Duncan today announced that he has cancelled his retirement. He will rejoin the Spurs for tomorrow’s game against the Utah Jazz, presumably starting as usual, wearing the #21 jersey that has been hanging in the rafters since his retirement ceremony. In his written announcement, Duncan set forth several reasons for his decision:
“Just as Sam-wise said at the end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy: “Well, I’m back”. Spurs fans may want to know why I have chosen to return.
First, I have watched almost all the Spurs games this year, and noted that Pop now allows post players to shoot 3 pointers. That will be cool.
Second, after Dirk Nowitski scored his 30,000th point a few weeks back, several commentators decided that Dirk is now the best international player ever. REALLY? Even if you ignore Hakeem Olajuwon, Dirk’s not that guy. I would take Manu and little Tony over Dirk and his flowing locks. Maybe even Boris Diaw. I figure in the rest of this year and next season, I can pile up some more points and rebounds, while Dirk continues his long slow descent into mediocrity.
Third, put simply, my motivational speaking career has not panned out.”
The NBA has announced that Duncan will be eligible for the playoffs. In a typical understated and brilliant move, the Spurs front office conveniently “forgot” to officially file Duncan’s retirement papers, thereby leaving the door open for his return. As a result, Duncan has remained on the team’s roster and is fully eligible for the playoffs.
The front office also persuaded Duncan to play for a pro-rated share of the league’s minimum salary. However, H-E-B has agreed to pay Duncan $1,000,000 under the table to replace Pau Gasol in the H-E-B commercials that air during Spurs games. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, H-E-B spokesman John Hannibal Doe had this to say about removing Pau from their commercials: “He was kind of funny, but he’s no Tim.”
Spurs players appear to favor Duncan’s return. In a wide-ranging interview with Spurs MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard, made his feelings clear. Here are some highlights of that interview:
“L DRESIE: Kawhi, you have always been very respectful about Tim Duncan and his leadership skills. But this year, the Spurs have become your team. You are now the face of the franchise. Having Tim back in uniform may change that. Are you concerned about the impact on team chemistry and, in particular, your leadership of the Spurs?
L DRESIE: But the team has been playing well, battling for the best record in the league. You have an effective big man rotation with LMA, Pau, Dedmon and David Lee. Do you think that there might be difficulty when all those players have to give up minutes to a guy who hasn’t practiced regularly with the team?
The one Spur I could not reach for comment was David Lee, who will likely be the player most affected by Duncan’s return. Lee is, of course, on bereavement leave after his Florida Gators somehow lost to South Carolina in the Elite Eight.
(Might as well come clean, Spurs fans. The Great Duncan won’t be back, but try to have a Happy April Fools Day all the same.)