A couple Olympians who might as well be honorary Virgin Islanders, given what they’ve meant to the career of our most famous retiree, had farewells of their own on Wednesday.
Tim Duncan’s magnificent mates with the San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, called it quits with their respective national teams after exiting the basketball tournament in Rio de Janeiro.
It’s been a sad summer for Spurs fans and hoops junkies alike, as Duncan, Parker and Ginobili produced a magnificent brand of team basketball probably celebrated and appreciated more by fans outside of the United States. I’m one of them, and these guys are making us feel really old.
On Wednesday, Parker and France lost to Spain 92-67 with Parker saying au revoir to the French team afterwards.
Then, in the next game, I went to see Ginobili and Argentina fall to the United States 105-78 as the Americans were just too good for the aging Argentines.
The reverence the basketball community has for Ginobili is easy to see. Carmelo Anthony gave Manu a long hug and USA coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke at length in the press conference about what a pleasure it was to watch Ginobili and Argentina’s “Golden Generation” play together.
Unlike Duncan of St. Croix, who retired from the NBA last month, Parker and Ginobili will return next year to a Spurs team ready to challenge the forgone conclusion that Kevin Durant and Golden State will win the title.
Soon, though, Ginobili will fade away, and Parker will one day also retire, joining their famous Crucian friend in post-basketball life.
I know just the place where they can find a beach one day and reflect on old glory.