Friday, March 23, 2012

San Antonio Spurs Retire Bruce Bowen's #12

ESPN/ABC analyst Bruce Bowen had his jersey lifted to the rafters at the AT&T Center in San Antonio on Wednesday following the Spurs' victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Bowen donned his trademark bowtie in addressing teammates, coaches, front office personnel and fans.

In attendance were David Robinson, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan.  Each had comments prepared for the unveiling.

(It was interesting to see the three contemporary guys there.  They will most definitely be in a similar spot at some point sometime in the relatively near future.)

Parker shared his experiences as a young player in France who looked up to Bowen.  Before he made it to the NBA, Bowen traveled extensively finding work in other pro leagues, including in France.

Bowen's journey to the honor of having his jersey retired was unlikely and filled with persistence against all odds.  As a youngster, Bowen had to choose to move away from his parents due to their drug use and abuse toward him.

In the NBA, he became a defensive specialist, making multiple all-NBA defensive teams.  For the Spurs, he was the perfect fit.  He took on the challenge of the other team's best offensive guard or small forward and he added offense with his patented sideline 3-pointer.

Bowen is perhaps best known for his community-service efforts in San Antonio.  He has been a constant presence trying to make a difference with young people.

He's also well-known for helping the Spurs to win 3 NBA championships during his years from 2001-09.

Two other players were on the court with the Spurs during the night's win that also shared championship time with Bowen.  Stephen Jackson in 2003 and Matt Bonner in 2007.

Bowen has no shot at the Basketball Hall Of Fame, but his efforts will always be remembered in the rafters of San Antonio.

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