Tim Duncan was born in St. Croix of the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1976. He grew up an avid swimmer. When Hurricane Hugo destroyed the city’s Olympic-sized pool, that’s when he turned his attention to basketball in the 9th grade. He lost his mother to breast cancer the day before his 14th birthday. He and his sisters promised their mother that they would get a college degree. This was the main reason why he never left Wake Forest University early. After getting drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in 1997 as the 1st overall pick, Duncan made the NBA Playoffs his first season. He would be named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1998. That was the beginning of numerous accolades he would receive.
2 time NBA MVP (2002, 2003)
3 time NBA Finals MVP (1999, 2003, 2005)
5 time NBA Champion (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014)
15 time All-Star (1998, 2000-2011, 2013, 2015)
15 time All-NBA (1998-2010, 2013, 2015)
15 time All-Defense (1998-2010, 2013, 2015)
19 playoff appearances (every year he played)
71% winning percentage in 19 years with NBA
3,020 career blocks (5th all time)
10,285 FGs made (13th all time)
15,091 career rebounds (6th all time)
26, 496 career points (14th all time)
47,368 minutes played (10th all time)
If those numbers aren’t staggering enough, notice the respect from former players, an owner, and the NBA Commissioner.
“Congrats to Tim Duncan. Probably a top 5 all-time player and undoubtedly a top 5 all-time teammate. Wow, what a career.” – Steve Kerr
“More cutthroat than people give him credit for. I loved everything about him on the court.” – Kobe Bryant
“Tim Duncan is one of the most dominant players in NBA history. His devotion to excellence and mastery of the game led to five NBA-championships, two regular season MVP awards and a place among the all-time greats, while his understated selflessness made him the ultimate teammate. “– Adam Silver
“Timmy D you know how I feel about you, what you did for me and for the entire NBA. Thank you for an amazing career! #BestPFEver #Legend” – LeBron James
“Greatest power forward ever. Unbreakable power forward.” – Shaquille O’Neal
“Upset at Tim Duncan we didn’t get to honor him at Mavs Spurs game. Happy I’ve had the opportunity to witness his greatness so often.” – Mark Cuban
What made Duncan the greatest power forward to ever play the game? What allowed him to dominate the league for so long, ranking him as one of the best forwards ever? How did he post numbers like that and get put in the discussion of a top 10 NBA player of all times? Humility. Determination. Consistency. Fundamentals. Duncan came into the NBA the same way he left the game – no fanfare. He showed up to practice and work and simply did his job better than most. There wasn’t a lot of highlights of dunks or scoring 40 points a night. What you got was a consistent hard working scorer, rebounder, and leader. You got a consummate professional who never cheated the game. He did the little things better than anyone. Thank you Tim Duncan!