Most people would jump at the opportunity to hop on Air Force One for an international flight to attend the Olympics with the President of the United States. Tim Duncan, however, is a rare breed.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Bruce Bowen said his former San Antonio Spurs teammate turned down an invitation from President Barack Obama to join him on a trip to the Olympics in Rio. Bowen is in Rio and was hoping his now-retired friend would make the trip. Of course, Duncan had reservations about taking up an offer for such a high-profile destination. Given everything we know about Duncan, this all seems perfectly normal for the soft-spoken, lead-by-example NBA legend.
“It’s not often you find individuals like that,” Bowen told SI.com. “And it’s funny that he was offered an opportunity to fly here with the President of the United States, and he discussed it with me and I’m like, ‘You’re going, right?’ He was like, ‘You know I’m not about that stuff.’ Even that moment where you’d say, ‘I sure would like to be a part of that,’ it doesn’t happen with Tim because he’s not concerned with that stuff.”
Duncan is no stranger to the Olympics, of course. He was a part of the United States men’s basketball team in 2004, when the United States finished with a hugely disappointing bronze medal performance. Duncan had been a part of the 1999 Olympic qualifying team but was forced to miss the 2000 Olympics due to a knee injury. Perhaps Duncan’s own experience with the Olympics soured him in some way with the international game, but he also doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would let that affect him mentally. Maybe he simply wants to enjoy retirement in peace and quiet and not fly around to international competitions as a spectator.
Even if it is with the President. Hey Mr. President, if you still have a seat to fill on Air Force One, I will happily take his spot.