Tim Duncan, who most feel is the best power forward to ever step on a basketball court, decided to retire on Monday after 19 seasons in the league.
Duncan is also likely the most under-appreciated star any sport has ever seen. You will probably never watch a more modest athlete.
The former Wake Forest standout produced a résumé that few have ever matched. It included five NBA championships, three NBA Finals MVPs, two regular season MVPs, 15 All-Star Game selections, and 10 All-NBA First Team selections. And he did so while playing for one franchise and one coach.
Even with the exploits and honors, Duncan will is likely more known for the modesty, humility and consistency with which he played the game. He was never flashy and rarely expressive on the court. While other great players of his generation were known for fadeaways and thunderous dunks, Duncan’s signature shot was a basic bank shot from mid-range, which he punished defenders with repeatedly over the past two decades.
The game will likely never see a more unselfish player. I saw a feature story on Duncan and the Spurs. It was obvious that he was happier for teammate Tony Parker winning the NBA Finals MVP in 2007 than he was when he earned the same award in 2003 after recording 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists and eight blocks in the deciding game.
The San Antonio Spurs won because of Duncan. They built their team around him after drafting him No. 1 in the 1997 NBA Draft. The Spurs never missed the playoffs during Duncan’s 19-year career, and Duncan’s statistics remained amazingly consistent through his first 18 seasons. Prior to this past season, he scored between 17.1 and 22.6 points per 36 minutes and pulled down between 10.5 and 12.2 rebounds.
What also makes Duncan different is that San Antonio become known as the model organization in the league. Few could argue with the idea that Duncan, one of the greatest and most selfless players ever, is the primary reason why.
It will be strange not seeing Tim Duncan going up and down the court this upcoming season. It will also be equally as strange not seeing Dwayne Wade in a Miami Heat uniform.
Things soured between Wade and the Heat when the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement during contract negotiations, prompting the popular 13-year star to sign a two-year deal with his hometown Chicago Bulls.
There were reports that Wade and Miami were about $7 million dollars apart on a two-year deal. Heat president Pat Riley clearly did not want to shell out more than the $40 million he offered Wade. The Bulls happily met Wade’s demand and they now have the three-time champion.
The Las Vegas Raiders?
Las Vegas was awarded a hockey team by the NHL this summer. Will the NFL be next?
Casino mogul Steve Wynn is set on making it happen. While recently in Los Angeles, he made it clear to several media outlets that he is all in on getting the Oakland Raiders to become the Vegas Raiders.
It is widely known San Diego and L.A. are also in the running, but I would not count Wynn out. The man is a billionaire. You have to believe former Raiders owner is up in heaven hoping it comes true and would laugh when the Just Wynn Baby t-shirts come out.
Older gridiron fans will remember that was Davis’ motto when he ran the franchise: Just Win Baby.