I love Tim Duncan. He is the epitome of class. Not to mention a fine basketball player.
Geoffreys' biography reminded me of all the things I've heard through the years, but sort of forgot.
Duncan was born and raised in St. Croix, a small island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Before basketball, he was a swimmer and was training for the Olympics until his training pool (the only facility on the island), was destroyed by hurricane.
His mother died of cancer when he was 14, but not before she received his promise to graduate from college.
"With his mother gone, and no place to swim, Tim Duncan lost his motivation. He never swam competitively again. Instead, he turned to something which had survived the hurricane – a basketball pole which was a Christmas present from his oldest sister Cheryl."
After excelling on the high school basketball team, Duncan was recruited into Wake Forest which "had traditionally been just a stepping stone for superior basketball schools like North Carolina and Duke, but Duncan . . . (helped) change that. They finished 20–11, won games against both of those schools, and Wake Forest qualified for the NCAA tournament."
Duncan had an impressive college career, and there was speculation that he might enter the NBA draft after both his sophomore and junior years, and if he had done so there were many who predicted that he would have been the number one pick both years. But Duncan wanted to help Wake Forest win an NCAA Tournament, and also, he had made that promise to his mother.
Although they came close both of his final years, Tim never did take his college team all the way to the championship. But he did graduate with honors with a degree in Psychology.
His entire professional career has been spent with Greg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs. His athletic prowess has made him possibly the greatest power forward in the history of the NBA. But his athleticism is not his only claim to greatness. He also displays a constant quiet leadership which his teammates have come to respect and emulate.
"All of these players to come through San Antonio have cited Duncan's hard work and leadership as an important influence on the development of their careers. Duncan has never cared about his individual numbers over the years, and he has imparted that attitude to the Spurs organization as a whole."
A 2009 interview with Bill Russell "sums up Duncan's legacy better than any words can proclaim – he was someone who could always work within the team, always do what it took to win, and had no weaknesses whatsoever."
"Duncan cut his salary in half in 2012–2013 just to keep the San Antonio Spurs team together."
One crazy stat that shows just how dominant Tim Duncan has been
By: NATE SCOTT June 8, 2014 8:40 pm ET
ForTheWin USA Today
"Tim Duncan is in his 17th NBA season, and everyone knows he’s been really good for a long time.
Stats like this one help put that in context, though.
Yes. Tim Duncan has appeared in more playoff games than 17 NBA franchises.
This is his 231st playoff game. The Clippers are exactly 1/3 of the way there!"
But as great a player as he is, he still has time to be a great human being.
"He does possess a life off the basketball court. During the off-season, Duncan normally returns to his home in the Virgin Islands. He swims, runs, bikes, meets friends and family in the warm Caribbean sun. He does everything but play basketball."
"Outside of sports altogether, Duncan is known for his nerdy tendencies. A video game player who likes to play as himself in basketball games, he also has a tattoo of Merlin on his chest, plays Dungeons and Dragons and has dressed up for Renaissance Fairs in the past. Tim is also the frequent target of The Onion, a fake news website which pokes fun at his unassuming, intelligent personality with headlines such as 'Tim Duncan Calls Out Geometric Angle Needed To Make Bank Shot' or 'Tim Duncan Hams It Up For Crowd By Arching Left Eyebrow Slightly.'"
Here is a link to an entertaining video where Duncan is controversially ejected from a game for laughing on the sideline.
In the interest of philanthropy, he created the Tim Duncan Foundation to raise general health awareness and fund education and youth sports in various parts of the United States.
And back to the book, to close this out:
"He may no longer be able to carry the Spurs single-handedly to a title like he did in 2003, but he is still one of the best players on the most disciplined team in the league, a discipline which exists thanks to Duncan. Regardless of the cheers and roars of the crowd, regardless of teammates, regardless of the pressure and difficulty of changing from a defensive-styled team to an offensive team – Tim Duncan has come through again and again. As he prepares to enter his twilight years, it is that above all else which he can remain proud of."