British politician, Iain Duncan Smith, says, “Do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man”. Do you think he is a Spurs fan?
In a day and age where we have to endure lengthy, season-long farewell tours, we were all treated to a bit of an old-fashioned moment when the San Antonio Spurs organization released a statement saying that the stalwart of the winningest franchise over the past 19 seasons, Tim Duncan, had retired. Duncan, true to form, released nothing. The 15-time All-Star entered retirement the same way he approached every day as an NBA superstar and future Hall of Famer — without fanfare.
It’s not often in today’s world that we have to remind ourselves why a great player is so special – usually they do a fine job of telling us why they’re so good. But not Tim Duncan. The Big Fundamental (Shaq’s nickname for him because you know full well that Duncan would have no part in calling himself anything other than, simply, Tim) quietly put together one of the greatest careers of any player in NBA history. He’s recognized as the greatest power forward to ever play the game (a chunk of people will argue it’s Karl Malone). In 19 seasons as the leader of the Spurs – a franchise whose success can be unequivocally tied to Duncan directly, the 5-time NBA champion ranks 14th all-time in points scored, 6th all-time in total rebounds, and 5th all-time in blocked shots.
Duncan won the NBA MVP award in back-to-back seasons in 2001-2002 and 2002-2003, and he earned Finals MVP 3 times during his 5 title runs. His longevity is another piece to the “Tim Duncan Story” that makes him so special. He started his career battling inside with guys like Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O’Neal, and Hakeem Olajuwon. And then he ended playing against the best players of the new generation – LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry.
The NBA reacted to news of Duncan’s retirement on Twitter:
Charles Barkley has high praise for Tim Duncan… pic.twitter.com/wBO8jI1CHT
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 12, 2016
In Shaq's autobiography he recognized Tim Duncan's 🐐 status. pic.twitter.com/w1EHtv8ZEj
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 11, 2016
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 11, 2016
Timmy D. Say it ain't so!!! Greatest power forward ever!
— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) July 11, 2016
No finer mix of quiet, unselfishness and pure dominance have we seen from an NBA great. The Spurs will not look the same without Duncan. He may have been unassuming, may have been soft-spoken; but you couldn’t miss him. And you certainly shouldn’t have ever underestimated him.
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