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September 5, 2009

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Three-time champion Bowen decides to retire

BRUCE Bowen retired after 12 NBA seasons on Thursday.

He had a reputation as one of the league's most menacing defenders, hounding opponents with a tenacity that some players complained was more dirty than dogged.

The 38-year-old Bowen called it quits after being waived this summer by the Milwaukee Bucks, where the San Antonio Spurs dealt him in a veteran dump-off for swingman Richard Jefferson -- a decision Bowen said he understood.

"You need to do things to better the business, and the Spurs definitely got better in the players they received, so I'm looking forward to continuously supporting the Spurs, but from more of a distance now," he said at his wife's San Antonio salon.

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili get most of the glory for bringing three NBA championships to San Antonio this decade. But Bowen gladly did the dirty work, relishing his role as the pesky defender who covered the other team's best player.

Asked about the likely reaction to his retirement from stars like the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant and the Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash, Bowen chuckled, "I'm sure a lot of people are happy."

Bowen was named eight times to the NBA's all-defensive team. He finished second three times in defensive player of the year voting.

He won NBA titles with the Spurs in 2003, 2005 and 2007.


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