Happy Birthday, Tim Duncan!
The Spurs’ greatest player of all-time is now 46 years old. It’s hard to fathom that, considering Duncan entered our lives back in 1997 when the Spurs won the NBA Lottery. He was only 21.
We witnessed one of the greatest players of all-time lead the Spurs to 5 NBA titles. Along the way, Tim earned 3 Finals MVP Awards, made 15 All-NBA teams, 15 All-Defense Teams, and became a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Duncan allowed Coach Gregg Popovich to treat him like all the other players. There was no superstar treatment. I remember seeing a Stephen Jackson interview where he talked about humbling himself when it came to Pop because Duncan welcomed the intense coaching. Tim set the example.
Duncan was not flashy on the court, but he sure was efficient. Nicknamed “Mr. Fundamental,” Duncan earned praise throughout the league for his leadership and intangibles on the court.
What are your favorite memories? Some that come to mind for me include the game tying 3-pointer he made in overtime against the Phoenix Suns during the 2008 playoffs. Duncan’s celebration and excitement after that play is something I will never forget.
I’ll also never forget those titles in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014. All of them are special in their own way. 2014 against the Miami Heat being the sweetest of them all.
Even though Duncan is regarded as one of the greatest NBA players of all time, I still do not think he received the recognition he deserved. Duncan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as part of Class of 2020. The ceremony delayed one year because of the pandemic. Even then, Duncan’s induction was overshadowed by the posthumous induction of Kobe Bryant, who died with his daughter and several others in a helicopter crash.
Duncan served as a Spurs assistant coach for a short time and made his debut as head coach during a 104-103 victory against the Charlotte Hornets two years ago. Duncan walked off the court victorious, just like he did as a player.
Spurs fans are lucky to have had Tim Duncan in our lives for so long. The fact that he and his family continue to call San Antonio home is remarkable. Thank you for all the memories, Timmy. Happy Birthday. Here’s to many more…