Bruce Bowen Jersey Retirement Q&A

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  • Ben Hunt, spurs.com: “What’s the significance to you on joining those players and jerseys that hang in rafters?”

    Bruce Bowen: “First thing I thought about is exactly what you just said.  Those names that are up there, just to be mentioned with those guys and to be side by side with them, I think it speaks of the caliber of people and the character they possess as Spurs players.  When you speak about legacies people tell, ‘You should have your number retired.’ I would tell them that it’s not up to me. I didn't play this game to have my number retired.  I'm fortunate to have this opportunity because of Tim, Tony, Manu, those guys and of course Pop and Peter Holt.  For Pop to have a vision and give a young man like myself a try, as someone he felt could add something to the club. And to him for giving me the opportunity to feel as special or as important as every other player that we had those great runs with.”

    BH: “You touched on the fans having a connection to you and being a fan favorite. Having your jersey retired is a tribute to you, your play and your involvement in the community, but in what way do you think there is a connection to the fans as well?”

    BB: “I've always said that we all have certain talents. It's up to you what you do with those talents. You can maximize them or you can sit on them.  Not everyone can run as fast as Tony, not everyone is as creative as Manu, and then you have Tim, who is the most talented big I have ever played with and a future hall of famer. That being said, for me it was about getting the most out of what I was given. I was good defensively and I really maximized that whole defensive aspect of things.  For defense, it's more about the desire. You may not have the ability to do all the things that Tim, Manu or Tony can do but you can be a Bruce Bowen, if you set your mind to it. I think because of that more people could relate to me, they saw someone who just gave it their all when I was on the court.  I just appreciated so much being out there each and every night. Because of my appreciation for it, I think that's why people saw me play at the level I played.”

    BH: “Did you ever think this day would come that your jersey would be up there?”

    BB: “It's not something I thought about. It's not something I shot for. I think I'm more appreciative of the camaraderie and the relationships that I developed from my time here. I have all these special people in my life because of the Spurs.  Pop, Tim, Tony, Manu, Brett Brown, Mike Budenholzer and Coach Newman, they all hold a special place with me because they were there from the beginning.  It's not even about the basketball; it's about everything around it. Pop really clued me in on that. It's about going to BAMC (Brooks Army Medical Center) and visiting the wounded warriors, who were protecting our freedom. Those are the types of things Pop really taught me. It’s about those things that make a difference in the community.”

    BH: “What were you doing when you were told your number was going to be retired? And what were your immediate thoughts and feelings?”

    BB: “It's quite funny; it’s funny how Pop is the initiator of so much toward me. He even called me when they were signing me from Miami and I thought it was a joke.  My sons and I were in the back area leaving the game and Pop comes up and he’s playing with my boys and then he tells me, “We’re going to retire your number this year.” As he said it he looked at me as if, “Don’t get all mushy on me.” He smiles at me, slams his car door shut and takes off.  That’s Pop being comical. But it coming from him goes back to the basic of being what our relationship always has been. It was Pop, who reached out to me then and now it was Pop that told me this was going to take place and I appreciate that because of who he is and the way it all came about.”

    BH: “The championships had to be a special feeling and maybe outside of the Basketball Hall of Fame that probably can’t be topped, but is this one of those top moments for you?”

    BB: “This is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever had bestowed upon me. I think a lot of it has to do with the other guys. It’s not about me; it’s more about being with the other guys who made me who I am. It’s about the other guys I played with.  Being able to pick up the phone and call some of your former teammates and have great dialogue is a sign of the type of relationships one has developed throughout a career. I’m truly honored to have this honor happen to me, but it takes so much of the “me” part out of it because we accomplished so many great things together on the floor.  The Basketball Hall of Fame is not something I ever thought of and even if that was the case, I think I would appreciate this more because of the guys and the relationships that developed in this process. No one can ever take away the things that Pop has taught me as a man. He has been such a great influence on everything then and still today.”

    BH: “When you look up at all those numbers and those names on those jerseys, it’s a very select group. Before finding this out, what were your thoughts about each of those individuals and their representation in Spurs history, now that you’re going to look at them and you’ll be up there with them?”

    BB: “I’m definitely going to have jokes for Sean, since Dave and I played together and we have more championships than him.  But it’s great company up there. Being associated with two Hall of Famers in Ice and 5-0, and to be in that elite fraternity, it’s very special. Then you look at Ice, David and Sean and their imprint on the community, Avery’s imprint on coaching and being the extension of the coach on the floor, then you have Moore and Silas and those are some special names. I don’t know what to say except how humbling it is and how happy I am to be in the same mentions as those legends.”