His NBA resume is one of countless accolades, which all but makes him a lock for the Basketball Hall of Fame. However, San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan is now trying his hand at something new to add to his resume and that's becoming a business man.
For those who live in San Antonio, you may have seen a huge sign along Huebner Road with "Black Jack Speed Shop" emblazoned with huge black lettering with a red flame design. And in case you didn't know, that's the future site of Duncan's car and truck customization shop with a focus on wheels and tires, suspension, performance parts and accessories.
However, it shouldn't come to much of a surprise Duncan's business is in the automobile industry. He is an avid car fan and has soaked in huge automotive events during his offseason. So it goes without saying, this new venture will be right up his alley.
Duncan's friend and business associate at BlackJack, Jason Pena, invited Project Spurs to talk about the new business, take a tour of the facility, get a sneak-peek at Tim's new business venture, and get the scoop on what automotive and Spurs fans can expect once it opens.
But as Jason points out, BlackJack began small with a simple idea and a way for Duncan to share his passion for cars.
"This is Tim Duncan's business. We both shared the passion for cars ever since I've known him and it's been going on for a good many of years. We've always talked about how cool it would be, you know one day, if we had a shop, and we can do cars and do things the way we want to do them and so on and so forth," he said. "That conversation had loomed for five years. It came to a point where we sat down one evening and we were like 'Man, it would be really cool to do it,' and I said, 'Yeah, you want to do it, I'm ready to go,' and that's how it started."
From this idea, Duncan began laying the foundation for what BlackJack and what car fanatics can expect from the business. Of course to no ones surprise, Tim is setting a foundation of professionalism and excellence like he does on the court.
"The thing that people know is that he is ultra-competitive and passionate about his profession which is basketball. 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," Jason said. "To share that type of passion in a respective field that I hold my passion in, we automatically connected."
But if you are thinking Duncan will be the "hands-off" type of owner, think again. Duncan is very involved at BlackJack, something Jason appreciates and highlights.
"Tim is heavily involved throughout all the process of this because, obviously, it's his business," he said. "There's a certain level of expectation for this particular business. His involvement has been from the ground level. Working with him throughout this process has just been an amazing experience. We collaborate even with the little details to what tile to put in the building and how should the building look and the collaboration of our logo which is going to become extremely familiar to the San Antonio area as the popularity and exposure grows about BlackJack."
Now if you haven't caught on to the true meaning and the origins of the name "BlackJack" came from, Jason reveals exactly where it came from which won't be a surprise to most Spurs fans.
"Everybody asks, 'How did you come up with Black Jack Speed Shop? What does that mean?' We tried to find a unique way to incorporate that this is Tim's business, but not put it in people's face that this is Tim's business. So we sat down with this unique idea, and he presented it to me and said, 'What do you think about this? BlackJack!'" Jason said. "I don't get it," he continued. "Like the game? The card game?" Duncan then said, "Think about it. BlackJack. The card game. 21."
"So the correlation was subtle enough and still kind of edgy enough with the whole hot rod theme, that it works," he said.
Initially, the name "BlackJack" wasn't enough for Jason as he felt it needed more. He added "Speed Shop" to the title, and Duncan approved and thus was the birth of the name of Tim's business.
"The whole basis behind "speed shop" is, and one thing I want people to understand, even though the name is "BlackJack Speed Shop," we're not necessarily a speed shop," he said. "We're an automotive accessory business. The whole meaning behind speed shop, is kind of an homage to the early 50's and early 60's from where this industry started from. Long story short, the birth of hot rodding came about during that time."
"We are an accessory store for trucks, cars, we encompass everything. From lift-kits, from lowering to performance exhaust, performance brake upgrades, computer tuning. So everything is encompassed. Even just general maintenance, like your regular brake job," he said. "You can come to this facility and know you're going to get superb service and excellent quality."
As Jason mentioned, Duncan is heavily involved at BlackJack but it's not just the business side he will be involved with. According to Jason, Duncan won't be shy about rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirty when it comes to the hands-on side of the business. It would certainly make for a great story to tell for a Spurs fan who brings their car to BlackJack only to see Timmy working on their vehicle.
"We've hand many discussions about that," he said. "Obviously, right now he's focused on the business at hand, the 2012-13 NBA season but Tim is truly a car guy. When he has more time available, like the summer, as dedicated as he is to his profession, he'll still be doing his workouts and everything else, but we've already talked about getting in there and having a project where he's going to get his hands dirty and he's going to get all the essentials of building a car from the ground up. That's how committed and passionate he is about this particular business. Whether it be doing stuff in the front or going in the back and turning some wrenches."
Now that will be a sight to see. A four-time NBA champion getting under the hood and fixing cars but that is the type of person Duncan is. The same dedication he pours on the court for the Spurs, he will do the same at BlackJack.
"He's not intimidated by anything you put in front of him. He's compelled to excel and achieve anything or any goal that he puts in his mind. So as far as a 'mechanic' or 'gear head,' the words I like to use is he is truly a 'car guy.'"
And as much as BlackJack will be serving all of San Antonio's car needs, Jason says Duncan's business will well represented at various automotive outlets and magazines.
"We have one of our vehicles going out, this year, to the 2012 SEMA Trade Show. We'll have our Nissan GTR out there. Represented and sponsored by 3M Auto Vinyl. We're going to have an article in Rides Magazine, which will be released in November."
Jason wants to stress that he, Tim Duncan and BlackJack's main thrust is to take care of all of San Antonio. San Antonio is the business' home base and San Antonio comes first.
"We're also about the community. We've already started a few things that are important to me and Tim. We sponsored the 2012 Reagan Cheer Clinic. We're doing a deal in November where we're sponsoring the San Antonio Camaro Club annual car show. We want the community to know this is a business but this is a place where everyone is welcomed to come in, to feel comfortable to come hang out and experience this business," he said.
As the interview continued, Jason revealed he is a Ford guy (Mustangs) and has a soft-spot for that line of vehicles and for German vehicles like Porsche, Audi or Volkswagen, but in case any of you were wondering what's Tim's favorite line of cars, Jason said Duncan is a classic car type guy.
"He's like a traditional muscle car kind of guy. I would venture to say a '68 Camaro is one of the fun cars he likes. More of the traditional "Americana" hot rods. If I was going to put my finger on a specific genre, that's would I would say."Moreover, Jason also went on to say Duncan really likes to work on any cars to push its horse power.
An interesting side note is that Duncan isn't the only car fanatic on the team. Jason said Stephen Jackson is also a "car guy" and has a nice collection of cars as well.
BlackJack is going to be the premier destination for all car lovers throughout San Antonio. Duncan's business will bring nothing but the best, be an experience for everyone, give high-quality work, professionalism, and integrity in every aspect of the business. In other words, everything that people have come to love about Duncan on the basketball court, expect it duplicated at BlackJack.
Jason says BlackJack will having a soft date as far as a grand opening this December but a firm date for the grand opening will be in the new year, this coming January. So come on out when it opens and soak in the experience. I was told there will be festivities, BlackJack merchandise to purchase and so much more. Also, make sure to follow BlackJack on their Facebook page for all the latest updates.
I want to thank Jason Pena for taking time from his busy schedule and inviting me and Project Spurs for this interview and to get a behind-the-scenes look at Duncan's BlackJack. Be sure to come back to Project Spurs as well will be bringing you all the latest happenings from BlackJack.
(photos courtesy of Jason Pena/BlackJack)