After a disappointing finish to the 2010-2011 NBA season, Tim Duncan put in a lot of work in the offseason. Despite it being the summer of the lockout with many NBA players reporting for camp out of shape and overweight, Duncan was ready to go. Highly motivated for another championship run, the 15-year NBA veteran used the extra downtime this summer to shed 20 pounds from his frame.
The reserved Duncan wasn't the one letting us in on the secret to his strong postseason, either. Former Spurs defensive wizard Bruce Bowen revealed that while many players in the league were taking it easy as the possibility of a season was hanging in the balance, Duncan was tweaking his diet.
Sticking to the basics seemed to work for Duncan. If you're looking to pick up some tips from the four-time NBA champion, the key seems to be cutting out the extra.
“He lost a lot of weight,” Bowen said. “In fact, when we would go out to eat, Tim would split the bill and we had a big plethora of food out of us. But now, he’s starting to eat wheat bread and chicken only, no mayonnaise, no mustard, none of that.”
It's not surprising to hear that Duncan deciding to shed a few pounds would be beneficial to his performance. While younger players can eat horribly without worrying about weight creeping up or feeling badly as a result, as an athlete gets older, taking care of his body becomes more and more important.
Look at Steve Nash and Grant Hill. A lot of credit deservedly goes to the training staff in Phoenix for keeping those two playing at such a high level, but their dietary choices cannot be ignored either. Both remain on strict diets during the season and go above and beyond "watching what they eat" to ensure they are fuelling their bodies properly.
Bowen said Duncan realized that taking this step wouldn't just help him this season, it would help give him more seasons. The move to shed some of that excess weight was a move aimed at extending his career, something Spurs fans should be delighted to hear.
Being lighter on his feet means Duncan is feeling less pressure on his knees and that his rest and recovery time has been shortened. All great things, especially in a lockout shortened season.
“That’s easy on his knees and easy on his body and he took care of his body during the lockout,” Bowen said. “He understood it would end at some point, but he took care of himself."
Looking at how San Antonio has dominated this postseason, a lot of credit goes to Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich and the talented depth of the Spurs' roster. Perhaps a little should also go to that voice in Duncan's head telling him to forgo the mayo.