Getting to the NBA is not easy, sticking to an NBA team proved to be even harder. But with hard work, faith, dedication and perseverance you might be able to pull it through. Ask Bruce Bowen, after all his journey to the NBA never came easy, he was not drafted and bounced around the league in the early part of his career. But that is up until he played with the San Antonio Spurs.
In San Antonio, Bowen found his niche and has done his best playing great defense. He would have the unenviable tasks of guarding the likes of Allen, Carter, McGrady, Bryant and James among others. Other players even labeled him as a "dirty" player, Phil Jackson even called him Edward "scissor hands" at some point. But you know what? I don't buy that, for me Bowen is just a hard worker that has mastered defensive anticipations which makes him so effective.
He was a key player in Spurs' title run in '03, '05 and '07. An amazing feat for a guy that was "unwanted" in the league early on. With success he remains humble and when asked what advice he can give for aspiring young players this is what he said "Follow your heart. It’s different strokes for different folks. What worked for me, may not work for you. You have to find your own path when it comes to things of this nature"
Clearly he found his path, he found his home with the Spurs. But eventually things have changed. An early exit of last years playoffs, forced the Spurs to go in a different direction trading Bowen, Oberto and Thomas to the Bucks for Richard Jefferson.
After the trade, Bowen was asked if he is willing to re-sign with the Spurs if that possibility arises. He answered 'Yes' without hesitating. He was even able to bid goodbye with class. Later on he was waived and is now a Free Agent some Spurs fans (including me) thought of the possibility of bringing him back. But then again Coach Pop would say this "I’ve given him no such indication, He might come back with the right team in the right situation, but it’s probably not going to be San Antonio."
I bet Bowen was hurt deep down, probably even harder compared to the time when he was traded, but we never heard a word from him, no complaints. He might not be the same player he was before, but I still find it hard seeing him playing for another team. For me, he is a Spur by heart and mind. I think he knows this too, so if he ends up hanging his Jersey #12 before the season starts it wouldn't surprise me, but he will certainly be missed (heck even the guys he used to guard might miss him, ask Kobe).
And if he chooses to play? no matter how remote or unpopular (or popular depends on whom you asked) this may seem, I hope it would be for the Spurs. He knows he can't play with the same passion and love for any other team, if only he will follow his heart... So are his playing days over? I can't tell. But when that time comes, I hope the Spurs will give the honor he righfully deserves. I'm wishing him all the best and if he pursues a future endeavor, a trainer or coaching job maybe? I hope it would be with the Spurs...