As the ageless and unflappable Tim Duncan turns in another incredible playoff run, reports and court documents indicate the Spurs star has played this postseason while dealing with an ugly divorce from his wife of 12 years—and spent the regular season concerned about allegations of infidelity on her part.
The San Antonio Express-News reported over the weekend that a divorce case, filed in March in Bexar County District Court, seems to refer to Duncan and his wife Amy. The filings contain the couple's initials, as well as those of their son and daughter, and the dates of their wedding and the births of their children. The divorce was initiated by Amy Duncan, a move that caught Tim by surprise—he wanted to wait until the end of the season.
Duncan reportedly had suspicions about Amy as far back as last fall. Again according to the Express-News, he hired a private investigator to find out what she was up to. It's not known what he discovered, but Amy filed for divorce on March 27, claiming their marriage was "insupportable because of discord and conflict." About a month later, she moved out of the couple's house.
(In a slight irony, Amy Duncan is represented by respected divorce lawyer Richard Orsinger, who represented Tony Parker in his acrimonious 2010 divorce from Eva Longoria.)
Duncan filed back with a counter-petition last Monday, seeking to push proceedings back until July. That filing asked the court to
"give T.T.D. 30 days following the first work day following the San Antonio Spurs' last playoff game (whenever that might be) to respond to the outstanding discovery requests.”
TMZ notes the counter-filing contains some optimism toward the Spurs' chances in the filing. It says Duncan's job "is currently making extraordinary demands on him and hopefully will continue to make those demands for the next 30 or so days."
Duncan asks the court to honor the couple's prenuptial agreement. Though Duncan began dating the former Amy Sherrill in college (he was a star at Wake Forest, she was a cheerleader), the two didn't get married until the summer of 2001, a full year after he signed his first non-rookie contract, a three-year, $32.6 million deal. Their prenup likely took into account that Duncan was a very wealthy man.
Duncan's counter-filing also asks the court to confirm that he owns "property that is separate from the marital estate"—in other words, not everything should go halfsies.
In a 2003 profile of Duncan, SI's sportsman of the year, S.L. Price captured an exchange meant to set him apart from the perception of the womanizing athlete.
Duncan's wife, Amy, tells this nice little story. Tim had left Wake Forest after graduating in the spring of 1997, and she had no intention of being "that girl back home." She knew all about pro ballplayers and the women on their trail. Amy was going to become a doctor. She wasn't going to be pathetic. She figured she and Tim were through. But he wouldn't have it. For eight months, throughout his breakout rookie year, he called Amy four, five times a day—before practice, after practice, the moment he touched down in a new city—showing how much he needed her, sanding down her suspicion until, finally, the path between them was again as smooth as glass.
Now the subject is brought up to Duncan himself, and the atmosphere in the room changes. For the last few days he has chatted openly, even wittily, about everything from the effect of the Spurs' failed courtship of Kidd on Tony Parker ("His feelings got hurt by everybody, but you have to learn that it's a business") to Duncan's attitude heading into last spring's Western Conference semifinal against the Los Angeles Lakers ("Cool. They'd ended our season the last two years. We wanted to be the ones who sent them home. Let them have that feeling") to his famously vanilla quotes ("Wasn't I on si.com's all-boring team? I'm at the top of my game, baby!"). But now, on a close-to-the-bone subject like romance, Duncan shuts down. He smiles, he stares. He sits in a corner, leaning back in his chair. He doesn't say a word. His wife, sitting on the other side of the room, tries drawing him out.
"I was still in college, and we had those first couple of months when I was convinced you were going to go off and do bad things," Amy says. "Then all the uncertainties went away, and you did that for me, by calling and reassuring me that you weren't...you weren't out there doing bad things. You rekindled that belief." The words hang out there a good 10 seconds. Finally Tim nods. "Sure," he says.
Everyone sort of laughs, but it's clear that she has put him in an awkward spot. Amy goes quiet, and soon she decides to move. She takes her book and goes outside to the balcony. There's nothing wrong, exactly. Anybody who knows Tim will tell you that Amy has broadened him socially; anyone who has seen them work a charity event knows that she's even more committed than he is to making an impact; anyone who hears Tim talk about Amy knows that he trusts her completely. "It's not a typical NBA relationship," says Tim's agent, Lon Babby. "It's a real marriage, a real partnership. You have no doubt they're going to be together in 30 years."