San Antonio Spurs legend and NBA Hall of Famer Tim Duncan inspired countless fans and players during his 19-year career, which ended in 2016.
Rose, who is heading into his 15th season, is a household name for NBA fans due to the way he took over the league with the Chicago Bulls in the early 2010s and winning MVP in 2011 before having his dazzling young career halted by numerous injures.
Still, he's remained a valuable presence around the league due to his veteran leadership and polished floor skills. To keep up with things at age 33, Rose is looking at how Duncan managed diet and nutrition at the back end of his career as a way to self-create longevity.
"We always talk about how Tim Duncan always dropped weight towards the end of his career," Rose said Monday. "You could see it clearly, to see Tim that light moving around the way he was. When I was a kid playing against him I saw it, but of course, when you playing I'm running around fast and you don't take it as seriously."
In his return to the Knicks last season after a stint with the team in 2016-17, Rose averaged 12 points and four assists per game before an ankle injury in December forced him to miss time.
He was fixing to get back on the court before the end of the season, but a skin infection on the surgical wound became infected, effectively ending his year. As Rose sat on the sidelines and off the court, his diet became a focal point after emails from Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau regarding his weight sparked some internal motivation.
Rose admitted he took offense to being called out about his weight, but it was all he needed to change his habits.
"Don’t challenge me, bro," Rose said with a slight smile. "Out of all the people, I understand where (Thibodeau) was coming from because he’s a great coach. But I heard it when he first said it, like he mentioned to me, your weight. I’m like, ‘Bruh.’ I got offended in a way. So even though I don’t show it, I take it very personally when somebody challenges me like that. That’s why I’m on this right now.”
As for the actual dieting part? Easier said than done. But it seems to have already been paying dividends.
"It was hard," he said. "My diet was everything, making sure I cut the sugar out. That was extremely hard. Last year when I stopped moving, I was at 216 (pounds), 214 and now I'm at 193, 194.
"I had to do a lot to get to where I'm at. So the last thing I'm (gonna) fail at is not respecting me temple. This something I'm taking very seriously."
Despite a bench role in line for him with the Knicks this season, Rose has clearly remained locked into his craft as a player and professional.
As for Duncan, he was at the forefront of the proof for what Rose knew was possible once he slimmed down. But it didn't end there.
"Not only him, but other players too," Rose said. "Like when you look back at it if you a student of the game you see people, you see how they evolve and how they play for a long time."
The Spurs and Knicks will clash for their first of two meetings on Thursday, Dec. 29 at the AT&T Center.
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