Tim Duncan: 6 Reasons Why He Will Remain in the Limelight

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Tim Duncan dazzled basketball fans during his 19-year career in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was a one-man team and only played for the San Antonio Spurs. He played 1392 and averaged 19 points and 3.0 assists per game. 

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Duncan won five NBA Championships with the Spurs. In three of those seasons, he was the Most Valuable Player in the league and twice the finals MVP. The power forward’s achievements were recognized by an induction to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020. 

Even in his retirement, Tim Duncan continues to be remembered. Here’s why.

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A Selfless Leader

Tim Duncan: 6 Reasons Why He Will Remain in the Limelight
Tim Duncan taking a shot. Source: Wikimedia licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0

The ex-basketballer is widely praised for his leadership skills on and off the court. He led by example, showing his teammates the way. Although his position required him to engage more in the offence, he also covered back and helped the team in any situation. 

More often than not, big players are always intimidated whenever another influential player arrives in the team. However, Duncan was different. When the Spurs bought Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, he willingly shared his authority and allowed the team to thrive.

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Hugging the Ball

Most players have a ritual they practice before or after a game. Tim Duncan always hugged the ball. Speaking about it, he said that “it was a superstitious thing he began doing in his first season.” He uses it for mental preparation.

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Humble Player

The NBA is full of egotistical players who always want to have their way. They court attention at all costs and don’t shy away from showing their nasty side. Tim Duncan was understated. Even when he deserved all the praise, he spread it around. 

Additionally, he was not one to engage in trash-talking, an element that’s permeated sport. Duncan demonstrated his competency on the court. When things went well, he acknowledged everyone’s contributions, and when they went badly, he took responsibility.

Furthermore, he never thought he was above the small things. When Duncan was training with a rookie who was out of shape after being sidelined for two months due to injury, he puked on the court. Who cleaned it up? Tim Duncan. 

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Afterwards, he still asked him to get back on the court to train. If this isn’t an ultimate act of humility, we don’t know what it is.

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Numbers Don’t Lie

Video by Clayton Crowley

The ex-players stats are impressive. His consistency and productivity explain why Tim Duncan is considered one of the best power forwards of all time. His work ethic ensured his longevity, and he was always focused on improving himself and the team. 

It’s no wonder he led the Spurs to five NBA championships and notched up high numbers. Duncan scored over 26,400 points, over 15,000 rebounds, and over 3,000 blocks.

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Relationship with His Coach

Tim Duncan developed a father-son relationship with his long-time coach Gregg Popovich. This partnership was one of the best in sports history. It saw the Spurs rise to the highest level in the NBA. 

During that period, the two shared sweet moments, including Popovich’s trip to Duncan’s hotel door, where he left a carrot cake. He explained that he knew Duncan loved carrot cake, and it was a fatherly act. Additionally, Popovich used this practice to express his appreciation.

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Placed the Team Above Self

Tim Duncan was always the reference point for the San Antonio Spurs. He did everything for the betterment of the team. In 2012, he took a pay cut so that the team could keep Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. 

At the time, Duncan was the third-highest earner in the league, behind the late Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. After agreeing to the cut from $21.16 million to $9.65 million, Duncan dropped to the fourth-highest-paid player. This deal also allowed the Spurs to resign some players like Danny Green and Patty Mills.

Tim Duncan was one of the most influential basketballers. His presence transcended the San Antonio Spurs, the community of Texas, and the game. Duncan’s contributions will always be remembered. 

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