SAN ANTONIO – The first annual “Duncan Day” is set to begin on July 21, 2016, after Tim Duncan announced his retirement last week on the San Antonio Spurs official website.
But don’t expect the city of San Antonio to announce a “Greg Popovich Day” in the near future as the Spurs head coach told ESPN today at USA Basketball’s training camp in Las Vegas he doesn’t plan to retire.
In an article by Ramona Shelburne, with ESPN, Popovich jokingly said he’s made too many promises to retire anytime soon.
“You know what happened? I just got roped in,” Popovich said. “Manu was going to sign a few years back and he was, like, ‘Are you going to be here?’ Tony, then Kawhi. Then when we were recruiting LaMarcus, he was, like, ‘Are you going to be here?’ It just goes on and on. So I guess I can never stop. I can never retire.”
However, Gregg Popovich has openly stated in the past – talking to reporters after a win over the Lakers in the 2013 NBA Playoffs – when the time came, he would follow Duncan into retirement.
“When he doesn’t think he can, he’ll stop. It might be in the middle of a game. I can see him walking off the court saying, ‘Nah, I’m not pulling my weight anymore, I’m gone.’ And he’ll walk. And I’ll be right behind him, like this. No pride, no nothing.”
Shortly after winning the 2014 NBA Finals, the Spurs and Gregg Popovich agreed to a five-year extension retaining “Pop” well beyond post-Duncan era till the end of the 2018-19 season.
For now, Spurs fans can mourn the loss of Duncan’s presence on the hardwood without the thought of losing another icon in the near future, but fans shouldn’t be too quick to shelve the Kleenex just yet.
“There’s gotta be some time when we’re trying to sign a free agent and he goes, ‘Pop, are you going to be here?’ and I say, ‘Nope, I’m leaving next week.’”