An Open Letter to Tim Duncan- Thoughts From Father’s Day

Dear Tim Duncan,

Thank you for all of your hard work this season, and for representing the city of San Antonio with such a high degree of class time and time again. But most of all, thank you for making Father’s Day yesterday so incredibly special not only for me and my family, but for fathers, sons, daughters, and families all across South Texas.

In the closing moments of the game Sunday, I found myself surprised, confused, and shocked that I couldn’t seem to fully process  or understand the many thoughts and emotions running through my head. The closing ceremony, as amazing as it was, seemed to go by in a blur. In what seemed like only a half-second later, I was out and about celebrating with friends downtown with no time or space to simply pause and reflect upon the true importance and meaning of this championship.

But in the morning following the festivities, I stumbled upon this image, and it all made sense.

Tim Duncan celebrates the championship with his two kids, Sydney and Draven.

Tim Duncan celebrates the championship with his two kids, Sydney and Draven.

I cried. The emotions were overwhelming, and the tears just poured out.

For in that moment, I was truly reminded of how what you do transcends mere sport in powerfully unquantifiable and inspiring ways.  It’s not about the game itself– it’s how you play it. It’s not about settling for the moment, but continually striving to improve. It’s not about the moment of success– it’s about the journey, hardship, and work as well as the friends and family who help out, sacrifice, share the load, and make everything sweeter along the way. It’s not about “me”, it’s about “us”. It’s about humility, it’s about passion, and– above all– it’s about love. And is there really anything greater or more deeply, universally, and poetically human than that?

I couldn’t help but think of my own father whose love, advice, guidance, and sacrifices continue to amaze, motivate, and encourage me to do my best on a daily basis. And of course, many of the great memories and experiences I’ve shared with my dad came to mind– of which our mutual Spurs obsession has certainly been a very fun, unique, and amazing part. I am sure it sounds silly, especially for non-sports oriented individuals, to acknowledge that so much of my family member’s lives have become tied to what essentially boils down to a collection of individuals simply playing a game. But it has, and it without a doubt has brought not only my dad and I closer together, but the city of San Antonio as well in unfathomable ways.

The sight of families of all cultural and economic backgrounds out in full force last night waving flags, honking, and celebrating also came to mind, and I was reminded of my seven year old self wearing a Sean Elliot jersey and dancing about the living room with my dad as a special ping pong ball fell our way in the 1997 NBA Draft Lottery that forever altered the course not only of a basketball team, but the lives of its fans.

So Tim Duncan, thank you, again. Yes, thank you for your athleticism, hard work, and success on the basketball court. But thank you especially for the love and dedication you’ve shown to the game, the team, the city, and its people while bringing us all a little closer together in the process.


Ryan Smith

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