On Monday, the world found out about the retirement of the best power forwards in NBA history, Tim Duncan.
Tim Duncan will go down in NBA history as one of the best to ever play the game.
During his 19 year career he won five NBA championships, two MVP awards, and won Finals MVP three times (1999, 2003, 2005). Only Michael Jordan has more. Duncan, was a 15 time All-Star, and was selected All-NBA 15 different times.
He graced us with his magnificent fundamental style of play and humble personality.
While some might be bored with that, he was a shining example of how a leader, a franchise player and a teammate should act and carry himself. In 19 seasons, Duncan averaged 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.
According to a New York Times interview in February 2015 Steve Kerr told Harvey Araton about Duncan, “Incredibly confident with his game but humble with his approach, always taking the criticism for the rest of us. He’d come into the locker room after a loss and he’d say, ‘My fault.’ You’d look at the stats and he’s got 38 points and 24 rebounds. Pretty sure it wasn’t your fault, Tim.” He also went on to say that Duncan was one of the best teammates he’s ever had.
Duncan was a four year starter at Wake Forest before being drafted in 1997 by the Spurs. They already had a superstar in David Robinson.
In time, this powerful duo became known as the”Twin Towers” and took the league by storm.
The franchise only won 20 games the year before. In 1999, a lockout shortened season allowed Robinson, Duncan and Coach Gregg Popovich to lead the Spurs to their first NBA championship. They beat the New York Knicks, starting something very special.
Duncan would go on to have classic battles with some interesting teams during his era. Some teams that come to mind are the C-Webb Kings, the go-go Suns, multiple incarnations of the Mavericks, the Pau-Kobe Lakers. Of course, you can’t forget about the biggest challenge to Duncan. He played against the Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles Lakers teams. They were a consistent thorn in the side of Duncan’s Spurs.
After the Lakers rattled off three championships however, the Spurs organization reshaped the roster. They added some toughness and went on to establish a Spurs dynasty. They were the mark of consistency. Duncan’s Spurs never won fewer than 60 percent of their games. They finished below 50 wins just once—the lockout-shortened year.
Duncan was very fortunate to have a mentor like David Robinson to learn from early in his career. Very few players are able to receive that mentorship and pay it forward. Duncan was able to do that and along with Coach Pop created a winning culture. As Duncan retires, the Spurs still have Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and newly signed Pau Gasol.
A salute to one of the best to ever play the game,Tim Duncan will be missed.