Dear Tim Duncan,
Man, I’ve watched you play so long I remember watching you when you were arguably still the second best player on Wake Forest and you guys got knocked out in the Sweet 16 by Big Country. I think we know who got the last laugh.
Tim Duncan, few in any sport have ever done it as well, as graciously, and correctly, as you have, from college through the NBA. Yours is a career I think many took for granted.
“The Big Fundamental” was the perfect nickname. It was how you conducted yourself, and it was the manner in which you played. Substance over style, I believe it was. And I truly believe that Lebron James, Shaq, and Kobe Bryant all only reached their true heights because of the motivation to beat you. You swept both Lebron and Kobe in your first two meetings against them. They may have been the bigger star, but you showed them what it took to be a champion.
You won with The Admiral and Sean Elliott and Bruce Bowen, then won with an entirely different cast of characters with Ginobili and Parker. And while Robinson was great, it was the end of his run when you joined. Parker and Ginobili are great basketball players, but how great would they be without you down in the paint?
But all through the Spurs phenomenal run there you were. The steady rock. Your teams NEVER had worse than a .600 winning percentage. Think about that. In his entire career, not once did they fall below that mark.
In the first four NBA finals that you won, your Spurs lost a total of six games in those series. That’s called getting it done and leaving no doubt.
And you’re a Ray Allen three pointer away from being equal with Michael in terms of champions. Sometimes I think people forget that when talking about the greatest we ever saw and the best legacy.
And yet through all of that, the greatest moment of your career will be forever be you getting thrown out of a game while sitting on the bench. Of all people…. I think we all can relate to being told to be quiet, so we want to see how far we can push it so we take a little chuckle to see if a parent or teacher is going to say something. That it was Joey Crawford, you know he would. Interesting that perhaps your most memorable moment was one that reflected the antithesis of everything you were about on that basketball court.
Thank you Tim Duncan for being everything right and good about pro sports.