Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 at 12:21 pm  |  80 responses

Bruce Bowen Announces Retirement

by Ryne Nelson

Give Bruce Bowen credit for getting it right. Somehow, someway, Bruce Bowen managed to capture every basketball fan’s attention despite entering the League as an undrafted swingman with less offensive game than Cookie Monster (and that’s no disrespect to the furry dude).

Bowen won three titles. He played in 500 consecutive games. He earned eight straight All-Defensive First and Second Team nominations. DPOY runner-up twice. But, most of all, we watched the Spurs because of him.

Yeah, we watched to see Ginobili breaking ankles (and his own included), Tony Parker slicing through the lane like a knife through aged brie, and that dude called Tim kissing the glass. But Bruce Bowen was the reason we paid close attention. He was the reason many hated (and loved) the Spurs. Bruce Bowen, in many people’s eyes, embodied the hard-working, stop at nothing, come outta nowhere success story that the Spurs executed so well.

Now the 38-year-old is calling it a career. From the San Antonio Express-News:

Bruce Bowen has known for some time that this day would come. And now that it’s here, he’s feeling surprisingly calm about it. The former Spurs great is retiring from the NBA.

“I’m very happy,” Bowen, 38, said this morning. “It hasn’t been difficult. I was content about it and understood it was going to happen.”

The Spurs still think they have what it takes to get another title, and, frankly, you can’t count them out as long as Duncan’s in-uniform and Gregg P is on the bench. But, without their Iron Man on defense, it’s going to be more of a struggle. Bowen’s been on the decline for the past couple years, and, despite solid playoff runs, the Spurs haven’t been able to claim the ultimate prize.

Some may have hated Bowen’s game, but all can appreciate his accomplishments — not only as a player, but for the Spurs organization and the San Antonio community. When we remember the Spurs dynasty, we’ll not only think about the Big Three, but also about Bruce B (sorry, but I had to claim the rhyme). And for everything he’s accomplished while in the silver and black, Bruce’s jersey deserves a spot among the AT&T Center rafters.

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  • AlbertBarr

    Congrats on a good career Bowen…I hate you.

  • http://twitter.com/NotebookNick thesubwayconnection

    Seconded. This doesn’t really catch me off guard though.

  • Babygab

    It’s time indeed. But this man is truly an inspiration, the living proof that hard work pays off !

  • Ken

    Other than jump-kicking Sexyback in the face, this guy never did anything I respected.

  • http://shoenut.blogspot.com ShoeNut

    Great role player, even though I hate the Spurs. He looks like Mr. PotatoHead.

  • cmoneys

    Wow good defense isnt respected? A true new age NBA fan i see.

  • riggs

    hate the spurs and hate him, but they do need to retire his jersey

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    I respected Bowen’s defense, it was his intentionally stomping opposing players achilles that I had a problem with. So long Bruce Bruce.

  • Shem

    sad to see him go this way but definetly a great player

  • http://bleacherreport.com/users/42594-hoops4life Overtime

    He was a bad man. But he was the best at his trade. Let him ever reside in that corner on the 3-point line.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I’m going to kick someone in the back of the legs today in tribute.

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  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    See kids, you too can make a career out of injuring others!!!

  • http://slamonline.com tina

    LOL @ TADOne

  • pablo (form argentina)

    Bruce: thanks for the memories. Always´s been a fan of yours

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    All the pictures I’ve seen of Bruce Bowen playing his so called “Defense” has been him either stepping on other people’s feet or placing his own feet under the opposing players following a shot.

  • la huey

    Farewell, Bruce. You were a throwback to the 80s

  • http://www.infamousklav.blogspot.com Klav

    Bye Bruce, we will miss hating on you. Lockdown defense won’t be the same without you. So who’s the best lockdown defender for the next few years, Shane?

  • d3p0

    Of course those are the pictures you saw…why else have pictures of a defensive stopper playing boring old defense?

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    hate on him if you want, but hes a champion. besides, he doesnt “follow through” with his elbow to euros faces.

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    one day Ray Allen will coach an NBA team, and the opposing coach will be…. Bruce Bowen.

  • http://www.myspace.com/freedmusic fredd

    a good citizen in the community, hard worker in the league, and some knowledge in his head ……. the rest belongs to the haters …

  • jose

    best defender i ever knew.good job lockin em down bruce.

  • luv2ball

    I’m sorry I’m old school. This dude is not a perimeter defender, he is a grabber, holder and injurer. He wouldn’t have lasted 2 minutes against Clyde, Nique, Jordan, B King, Ron Harper, Joe D, Starks. They would have had a field day with this dude. Joe D, Jordan, Pippen, were lockdown defenders. Don’t get me wrong, he made a very good living and stuck in the nba. I just would not call him a lockdown defender. He has never been better then Ron Ron imho. But I guess since the NBA let him get away with murder it is ok.

  • luv2ball

    I forgot to mention he is awesome on the community in San Antonio, so I’m not knocking that either. I just am a hater of his game.

  • la huey

    @luv2ball. I’m an 80s baby so I’m probably not too knowledgeable about the league in the 80s and early 90s but a lot of footage from that era show guys grabbing and holding. However, I am sure that while Ron Ron doesn’t hold and grab too much but he does an awful lot of pushing and shoving.

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    damn, the things a guy will do to get out of playing for the Bucks…

  • Josh D

    I’ll miss you Bruce B, great career

  • Josh D

    People only hated this dude becuase he was too good on defense for the NBA’s best, which frustrated the other teams guys a lot

  • mike

    never did anything during his time in boston, thanks for nothing bruce

  • Kadavour

    I dunno Klav, I think Shane at his best is better than Bruce at his. Battier knows how to lock a man the f up.

  • Mike Klander

    Bruce Bowen will be missed. Great defender. Lockdown defender? meh…I wouldn’t place him with the greats like Joe D, Pippen, Payton etc, but he was up there.

    Good luck in future endeavours Bruce.

  • thalilbigkahuna

    Now who’s gonna trip, kick, and otherwise try to injure people? Dahntay Jones stand up!

  • Donovan Phelan

    Bruce was one of a kind. Could hit the corner 3 but couldn’t make a free throw to save his life. Tenacious defender and First Class Dirt Bag. I will not miss him.

  • vmcb

    The league’s total number of nut shots is going to plummet this season. Good luck to Bruce, though. He had a great career annoying me as a Suns fan.

  • Nick the Quick

    Somewhere in Orlando, Vince Carter breathes a sigh of relief…

  • http://myspace.com/showbread Bryan

    F*ck this guy.

  • BostonBaller

    Imagine if he retired right afyer last season. Maybe Artest would have gone to the Spurs….HHmmmmmm.

    Tough defender, stuck the 3 and a team player. If you were a Spurs fan you loved him if not, you hated him and said he was the dirtiest player ever. lol

    I’ll form my opinion after hearing what his peers and GM’s say.

  • 6marjons

    he’s a winner can’t fault that, best of luck to him hope he stays involved with the spurs somehow you know he’s gonna have his number up there if pop gets his way (when doesn’t he?)

  • http://myspace.com/showbread Bryan

    If bruce bowen deserves to have his number retired then so does robert horry and derek fisher.

  • 6marjons

    rob horry deserves a banner somewhere just gotta pick a city, and dfish will get one

  • youngmuggsy

    Derek Fisher does the exact same dirty plays and yet he’s one of the most beloved players in the league.

  • Yep

    Hey Mike Klander, you spelled endeavors wrong

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Shem Posted: Sep.3 at 1:08 pm
    sad to see him go this way but definetly a great player
    Yeah, Isn’t it sad to see a player retire gracefully and at an appropiate time after a stellar career that out-performed anybody on the planets expectations?! For shame.

  • David

    Think he’ll end up coaching?

  • David

    Oh – and Shoenut pointed out the similarity that I’d never noticed before. Now every time I’m putting away my kids’ toys I’ll think the thing needs a tiny replica jersey…

  • john

    spurs have no defense now

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Great defender, good luck to him.

  • MR4U

    Bruce Almighty.

  • vic21

    Amar´e must be mad happy about this

  • anthony

    nba fans everywhere rejoice!!

  • http://www.sprint.com/sero dma

    if tim duncan was supposed to be mr fundamental, why can’t he and bowen shoot FTs? stranger things have happened. good riddance!

  • Arwan

    The best defender i’ve ever seen

  • http://dsfjkf.com Jukai

    I hope they return his jersey then someone sets it on fire. Cheapest player in the NBA. F him.

  • http://yahoo.com logan

    co-sign jukai, hate that d bag

  • Damir

    Not exactly your prototypical shooting guard on the offensive end..but hell of a defensive player..still, I never liked him..don’t know..

  • JoeMaMa

    He was a pivotal player on championship teams. What else can you say?
    CHAMP > haters

  • http://Www.bbaxn.com Darksaber

    YESSSS *cue evil witch cackle*

  • http://thesportsdiaryonline.blogspot.com Roy

    Best wishes to Bruce Bowen. :)

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    someone said dfish does the same “dirty” plays, thats true, but for fish, and jordan, etc. its a “veteran move”

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    As all Suns fans can cosign, this is a bitter-sweet day.

  • Yesse

    Too bad.There goes a good defender.

  • ab_40

    I can see him becoming an assistent in san antonio in the 2010-2011 season. preaching defense to their new crop of wing players.

    he outperformed players who are beyond far more talented then him and got hate for it. because he braught the same intensity players put in their O on D and he was great at it. he’s one of the best defenders of the past decade

  • Flash

    goodbye master of little things! the superstars of the nba would be happy to know they won’t be dealing with you anymore. hahaha potato head

  • Randy Brown

    Co-signed on the only thing enjoyable about the Spurs. Dirty player yes, but still a great defender

  • MC Pats

    He will be sadly missed from San Antonio. they should retire his jersey.

  • LCD screen cleaner

    Get a player to complain about his defense. Now everyone has to watch where they’re landing on the jumpshot, though he may never do it again = good defense. It’s not just physical. Fuck the haters. Bye Bruce.

  • Justin

    Kobe, Vince, Ray Allen…they’re ALL glad he’s gone and not because he played great D(he didn’t) but because their ankles will be so much safer. This guy was as dirty as they come and nobody will even notice he’s gone. Big deal that he was on a championship team. Will Perdue was on 4! How is his number not retired?

  • http://www.powerforward.nl JLP

    To all those ‘experts’: no matter how you defend, in my opinion defending is making sure the other player doesn’t score. No matter how you do it. So Bowen WAS a good defender. Save ankles or not.

  • Ken

    Sun Yue was also on a championship team. And as far as I know, he didn’t knee people in the balls or undercut them for his ring.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Dave

    Master of the little things? Masher of the little things more like it.

  • Nick the Quick

    The prices of ankle insurance just dropped now that a major risk to their safety just retired..

  • http://vandelayindustries.com Art Vandelay

    Cookie Monster would be a reliable bench player

  • http://www.yamahyouth.com Gerwin

    Somewhere the Suns are wishing this would have happened a few years earliers….

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  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    just a random observation: how did LCD managed to post with the word “FCUK” in the comment?

  • http://sevendeu2u.wordpress.com/ Seven deuce

    Opposing swingmen’s ankles are rejoicing as we speak.

  • http://Www.bbaxn.com Darksaber

    Dave: your Masher line, man. Pure comedy. Thanks for that.

  • alpha

    The best compliment to Bruce is probably when Kobe told the press that of all those who defended him, Bruce was the best.

    So long Bruce. Not many of us can become a Michael regardless of how hard we work. You give us a reason that we can be a Bruce Bowen if we work hard enough. And that is good enough for me!