Thursday, January 24, 2013
Tim Duncan's speed shop is up and running
By Bill Speros Special to ESPN.com
Tim Duncan has turned his love of cars into serious business.
Duncan opened BlackJack Speed Shop in San Antonio on Dec. 5 and he spoke publicly about the automotive customization business this week in a series of videos produced by the Spurs, one of which was posted on their website and YouTube.
Duncan said he wanted to get involved with cars after his career and thought that the market in San Antonio for aftermarket modification was untapped. The prospect of having a high-end speed shop came to life when he and business associate Jason Pena found the right location for this store north of downtown.
"I love to go and get my cars worked on," said Duncan, who added he didn't get his driver's license until he was a freshman at Wake Forest because he "didn't need one" growing up in the U.S. Virgin Islands. "I've always loved cars. I think it didn't really take off until later in college [when] I started loving horsepower and speed. As I got to the league, I was able to see more and know more about cars. It just kind of grew and grew and grew."
The shop is as much a place for brainstorming as it is a place for unique parts and specific modifications. "It's a fun place to come and visit," Duncan said. "You can get ideas left and right, and I've got a bunch of guys here who have some great ideas and great creativity and make something special."
Manager Glen Smith says BlackJack is a one-stop shop where "you can bring whatever you've got and do whatever we want." And what's it like to work for a perennial NBA All-Star and future Hall of Famer? "You couldn't ask for a better boss; he's into cars," Smith said. "To us, he's just another guy who wants to go to the track, wants to watch fast cars, wants to be part of cars and trucks. He likes cool stuff."
That's a view shared by Pena. "The thing that people know is that he is ultracompetitive and passionate about his profession, which is basketball," Pena told Project Spurs in October after the store's current location was first announced. "But what people don't know is that he is just as passionate and equally involved with the car hobby. He is a car guy. To share that type of passion in a respective field that I hold my passion in, we automatically connected."
Duncan has been an auto enthusiast for years and even squeezed his 6-foot-11 frame into a Nissan GT-R that he raced for BlackJack Speed Shop on the quarter-mile strip at San Antonio Raceway in August. He hit 129 mph on one of his runs.
The shop -- BlackJack Speed Shop on Facebook -- features a 4,000-square-foot showroom and an 8,000-square-foot shop with 10 bays.
• "Peanut" is just 17 months old and demonstrates some major club skills and hand-eye coordination in this You Tube clip posted by Romi Aslam on Wednesday.
Tiger Woods got his start in the spotlight as a 2-year-old guest on the "Mike Douglas Show" -- appearing with his father, Earl Woods, and comedian, actor and noted duffer Bob Hope back in October 1978.
There was no YouTube then, otherwise Tiger's skills could have gone viral even sooner. Look for "Peanut" coming soon to a tee box near you and on the PGA Tour sometime around 2035.
• The presidential election and inauguration may be behind us, but the Washington Nationals are planning a major announcement concerning the commander in chief on Saturday. “The inauguration may be over, but we've got a major Presidential announcement of our own coming at #NatsFest this Saturday!” the Nationals posted on their @Nationals Twitter account. During each home game, the Nationals host a sprint featuring the Racing Presidents, all of whom are featured on Mount Rushmore (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt). Roosevelt finally won on Oct. 3 after 525 consecutive losses. According to the Let Teddy Win blog, speculation has it that the team is considering adding John F. Kennedy to the lineup in 2013.