Finally,making time to write about the retirement of one of my favorite basketball players of all-time as Tim Duncan retired from the San Antonio Spurs.
Some argue that Tim Duncan wasn't a true power forward and rate him as a center and therefore use that as a reason to keep Duncan off the all-time NBA starting lineup.
I wouldn't argue against people that wish to rate him as a center,but I'll take him at power forward.
For the record,my all-time starting five is Magic Johnson at the point,Michael Jordan at shooting guard,LeBron James at small forward,Duncan at power forward and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the pivot.
Tim Duncan has been a favorite of mine going back to his days at Wake Forest,when he wasn't a polished and finished product,but you could see the potential.
At that time,I was watching tons of college basketball and the stars in the ACC were all the same age-North Carolina's Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse and Maryland's Joe Smith with Duncan showing promise,but not playing at that level at that time.
Duncan wasn't even the star of those Demon Deacon teams as that honor went to guard Randolph Childress,who led Wake to the 1995 ACC Tournament championship.
You could clearly see that Duncan had raw ability,but I would hardly say I figured at that time that he'd be an all-time great.
Where Duncan showed his maturity was realizing that he needed development time and unlike Smith and Wallace for example,he stayed and improved his game and would far surpass the pair in the pro game,where both would be good not great players that traveled around the league playing for multiple teams.
Duncan going to the Spurs was another one of those flukes that happen in sports.
Similar to the Colts being a top team under Peyton Manning,having a bad year with Manning lost to injury which enabled the team to stumble into Andrew Luck,the Spurs did the same with a awful season caused by an injury to David Robinson,which led to a lottery win and the resulting selection of Duncan.
Duncan's loyalty to San Antonio was very similar to staying at Wake Forest when he had NBA opportunities.
Duncan could have made more money elsewhere and could have went to bigger markets for other options both on and off the court.
Duncan didn't have a ton of endorsements and simply spent his career as a quiet superstar-one that eschewed the spotlight in order to be as close as a normal person as an NBA star can be.
I always have held a soft spot for San Antonio as a former ABA team and Duncan certainly made the Spurs an easy team to root for-as long as they didn't play the Cavaliers!
Duncan's game didn't have a ton of flash,but had the consistent record of dependability.
Duncan wasn't a three point bomber like so many of the big men of today,he was effective with the short jumper and could play on the block and post up defenders as big men should.
It was a reasonably simple,yet devastatingly effective,particularly in today's game with Duncan playing against one dimensional players that were useful only from inside the free throw line on defense and being able bring them out a bit on the offensive end.
I'm sure that we may see another player with Tim Duncan's skills in my lifetime,but I'm not sure that we will see one with his skills combined with the team first persona and the lack of ego in my time.
Tim Duncan was easily my favorite player for his era and as sad as I am to see him leave the game,it seems to be the right time.
I'd rather see him leave now than pushing things one sad year too late.
Tim Duncan will be missed....