A hometown hero has returned. Three years after announcing his retirement from the San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan is returning to the team, albeit in a much different position.
On July 22, the NBA and Spurs franchise announced Duncan is joining head coach Gregg Popovich's staff as an assistant coach. It was also announced that Will Hardy, a longtime Spurs staffer, will also be promoted to assistant coach.
“It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan’s assistant, that he returns the favor,” Popovich joked in a release.
As Popovich noted, Duncan played with the San Antonio Spurs for 19 seasons in both center and power forward positions. During that time, the Wake Forest grad logged 1,392 games in the silver and black, averaging 19 points and three assists per game. His retirement in 2016 was devastating to fans, the younger of whom had grown up with the marquee Tim Duncan-Tony Parker-Manu Ginóbili trifecta, better known as the Big Three.
So far, Duncan has remained mum on today's news, simply retweeting a Sports Illustrated tweet about the hire on the Tim Duncan Foundation feed.
As for Hardy, he may be feeling a bit overshadowed on what is probably the most important day of his career thus far.
“Will Hardy is a talented, young basketball mind who has earned a great deal of respect from everyone in the organization, thanks to his knowledge, spirit, and personality,” said Popovich.
According to a release, Hardy first joined the Spurs organization in 2010 as a video coordinator intern. For the past three years, he served as head coach of the Spurs Summer League team in Utah.