Now that Tim Duncan is retired, we’ll remember his insanely consistent greatness and his unemotional demeanor.
But really, all you had to do to fire up Duncan was bring up the Chicago Bears.
Duncan, who retired Monday after an incredible career with the San Antonio Spurs, is famously a fan of the Bears. That’s a little random, considering Duncan was born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands, went to college in North Carolina at Wake Forest and has worked in Texas for almost two decades, but we all come to our fandom in different ways. And Duncan is a legitimate die-hard fan.
Zach Zaidman, the sideline reporter for the Chicago Bears Radio Network, tweeted a story that proves Duncan might be in the top one percent of all Bears fans.
— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) July 11, 2016
It’s hard to imagine any of that. It’s hard to imagine Duncan, who we all know as being famously subdued, holding up a team flight for a football game. It’s much harder to imagine Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who is famously never subdued, being OK with that plan. But it apparently happened.
According to wire reports from that time, the Spurs were flying to Chicago for a game with the Bulls. The Bears game went into overtime about as the Spurs were set to take off, and Duncan wouldn’t let the plane leave until he knew if the Bears won. This is from the 2007 report:
Duncan, however, delayed the team’s takeoff, because the Spurs’ charter was scheduled to leave about the time the Bears-Seahawks game went into overtime.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said: “Let’s just say Tim was the last one on the plane.”
While the Spurs’ charter sat on the tarmac, Duncan — a huge Bears fan — continued to check wireless updates of the game. And after the Bears kicked the winning field goal, he roared and raised his arms, prompting Popovich to say: “Does that mean we can leave now?”
That’s not the only proof Duncan takes his Bears seriously.
Michael Wright of ESPN said that Duncan always kept a Bears mini-helmet and box in his locker. The media asked him last year about John Fox being hired by the Bears, and Duncan clearly perked up and kept referring to the Bears as “we” during his answer.
Duncan doesn’t have to worry about basketball this fall and can go to as many Bears games as he wants. The free time is well deserved.
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