So, you may not know this, but while I’m a huge sports fan, I’m not really a fan of professional basketball. But I make one exception to this rule–the San Antonio Spurs. I adore the Spurs—they do shocking things for an NBA team, like play team defense and play unselfishly to win (as opposed to playing to make the ESPN highlight reel). I’ve loved watching the Spurs since the days of David Robinson, but Tim Duncan is my all-time favorite player. Ever. He plays rock-solid defense, his footwork is a thing of beauty, and he does all the unselfish little things to become as good a basketball player as he can.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t make the game in DC when the Wizards played them. And the only other time they were playing on the east coast was last night, against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden.
But I wasn’t focused on any of this because Jim asked me to accompany him to an epilepsy fundraiser in New York last night. Childcare was more straightforward than usual, as our son is away on a school field trip, which only left the daughter and our exchange student, both very responsible human beings. (Not that I am in any way implying that our son is irresponsible, of course—it’s just that his frontal lobe is a LONG ways from becoming developed, but I digress.)
Anyway, we get dropped off last night at Madison Square Garden, and Jim hands me an envelope (complete with an Epilepsy Therapy Project logo) and asked me to check and see where the event was taking place. And in the envelope were two Knicks v Spurs tickets!! Not only that, they were tickets right behind the visitor team bench. Tim Duncan was literally five feet directly in front of me. I could have touched him, had I wanted to be escorted out by security.
So the game was surprisingly excellent and went into overtime. Unfortunately, the Knicks won. The Spurs clearly were not playing their best (in fact, if truth be told, they kind of sucked), but it was so VERY much fun to watch them play up close and in person.
Every player is huge when seen at eye level, even the players who aren’t considered big players by NBA standards. Tim Duncan was quiet, as always, although he seems to really enjoy just playing the game of basketball. Tony Parker was the most exuberant personality on the team, at one point, teasing Tiago Splitter about a foul call that he didn’t get. And Patty Mills was wearing bright green shoes with orange laces to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Cory Joseph played a lot of minutes in the game, and I haven’t seen him play at all, so that was fun to watch.
Madison Square Garden is impressive, too. There’s so much history and tradition there. Not just with respect to the Knicks—the Garden had Rangers banners and retired jerseys hoisted as well.
It was simply an amazing experience! And because I know Tim Duncan won’t be around to enjoy watching play much longer, it was all the more special to get to see him up close and personal one more time.