SAN ANTONIO — They dogged Tony Parker even while he was leading Team France to the EuroBasket championship in Slovenia.
They tagged behind Manu Ginobili while he was trying to relax on the beach with his wife and kids in the Turks and Caicos.
They followed Danny Green all the way to Taipei, Beijing and the remote corners of inner Mongolia.
They never stopped bouncing around in the recesses of Tim Duncan’s head.
Those questions about Games 6 and 7 of the NBA Finals just won’t go away and were a prime topic at Monday’s media day session.
Then again, maybe it’s not time to let them go already.
“We’ll get there. But I don’t think it’s time to heal all wounds yet,” Duncan said. “We’re gonna let it fester for a while. We’re gonna continue to think about it, because it’s going to continue to hurt whether we talk about it or let it go or not. When the regular season starts and the ball goes up, then we’ve got to focus on a whole ‘nother season.”
It will be critical for the Spurs to deal with those memories head-on and use them as fuel.
“We’ll talk about it,” Ginobili said. “I thought enough those first two weeks and we all have scars about our careers. That one is pretty deep but we’re going to have a good chance this year to keep getting better and keep doing things well and have a great season.
“I don’t think about it every day. I try to avoid it but sometimes it comes up. It was hard the first two or three weeks and then there is always somebody asking you what happened. Something about LeBron (James) or the shot or the turnovers. Then you think about it. If not, I just try to avoid it.”
Coach Gregg Popovich had admitted that he thought about the loss every single day over the summer and would address it head-on.
“When we start each new season, we talk about the season that just ended first,” he said. “We’ve done that however many years. It’s no different than any other year. However we ended up the year before, we close that, talk about it. It’s going to be the same this year.”
And the fact is that it probably wouldn’t do the Spurs any good to try to run from the ugly memory, since the reminders won’t stop even from the farthest reaches of the planet.
“It would have been easier if every waiter and employee or visitor at that (Turks and Caicos) hotel hadn’t watched the Finals,” Ginobili said. “But we all know the NBA Finals are really popular and hundreds of millions of people watch every game so I understood it was a big thing and they appreciated what you did and wanted to say something about the games.
“I really didn’t appreciate it but I understood it. It made me remember way more often than I wanted.”
“I think that’s a…question I heard every day, said Green. “I don’t think I won’t hear it until we do something different this year. I heard it in every country, people bringing up Game 6 and 7…I tried to stay away from it as much as possible. But it’s hard when you’re a competitor and you’re a basketball player and you watch it all the time. You can’t help but to think about it.”
There were more than a few of Duncan’s summer nights of sleep interrupted by recurring nightmares of the two-foot floater he missed with 50 seconds left that could have tied Game 7.
“All the time. All the time,” he said. “I probably could have made it with my eyes closed. I should have closed my eyes I guess.”