NBA’s Greatest : Look back at Tim Duncan as Spurs retires jersey

Spurs retire Tim Duncan's jersey in a heartfelt ceremony.


Tim Duncan or the ‘Big Fundamental’ was the greatest Power Forward to ever play the game of Basketball.

Duncan’s retirement before this season brought the curtain down to one of the most accomplished careers in history, a career that saw him make the playoffs every year, a very rare feat in this day and age. What further stands out is the legacy that he is leaving behind at the San Antonio Spurs, the only team he played for in the NBA. Along with coach Gregg Poppovich, Duncan formed the longest running dynasty in NBA history, one that looks like continuing for another decade at least. Over the past 19 years, Duncan had the pleasure of sharing the locker room with greats such as David Robinson, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and now Kawhi Leonard.

Duncan always wanted to be a swimmer, but switched sports following personal reasons. He immediately took to basketball like a duck to water. He was the star on his high school and college basketball teams. He entered the NBA in 1997 as the number one pick in the draft and transformed the franchise from his very first season. At that time, the wins to losses turn around was the largest in history after Duncan’s first season. He along side David Robinson then did the impossible, guiding the Spurs to their first title in history in 1999, with Tim Duncan named Finals MVP and taking over the torch from long time franchise corner stone David Robinson. The Spurs and Duncan would never look back, and they would be perennial contenders for the rest of his career. His consistency and longevity are unparalleled for a big man, with perhaps only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar coming close.

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After their first tile in 1999, Duncan and Spurs had to see the Lakers and Shaq-Kobe dominate for the next three years, and this period also coincided with Duncan reaching his best and engaging in titanic battles with Los Angeles. The Spurs would bounce back and win titles again in 2003, 2005, 2007. The Spurs looked like winning a title every year, but were thwarted by buzzer beaters, incredible individual performances and more. The Spurs would have their driest spell the next 7 years before winning again in 2013-14, beating two-time defending champions Miami Heat.
Always reliable, Duncan was named NBA regular season MVP twice in his career, at a time when the league was littered with stars like Kobe, Shaq, Garnett, Iverson among others. He was named to the All-NBA team and All-defensive teams 13 times, record. His consistency remains unmatched, whether on the offensive end or the defensive end. If there ever a reliable, go to shot, it was the Tim Duncan Bank shot off the glass. The number of titles that shot has won and the number of teams that have been deflated by that shot can not be counted. He finishes his career in the top 15 for all time rebounds, points, blocks, minutes and games played. Numbers however reveal only a part of what Duncan has meant to the game. Duncan’s unassuming and shy nature stands out in today’s game.
Basketball, as a game, has become synonymous with rap and hip hop, but Tim Duncan was the exception to the rule. His nickname ‘The Big Fundamental’ was no coincidence. If there was one player you could depend upon, it was Duncan. He had a sound technique and always played by the book. He perfected the Spurs system with Gregg Poppovich and goes down in history as an all time great. The mere presence of Duncan could lift the entire team and the demeanor of the man just added to his reputation. Silent, suave and passionate, Duncan remains a role model for any budding basketball player. Words can not do justice do the man, and for those of us who were lucky enough to witness this man, knows what true greatness really means.

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