There have been many superstars who've left a legendary mark in the sport of basketball, throughout its rich history. Players like Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Kobe Bryant are often mentioned in the list of all-time greats and comparisons are made.
All these players are remarkably accomplished and have revolutionized the sport in their own way. However, there is one player who is not mentioned in these conversations though, who is one of the best two-way players of all time and the greatest power forward the sport has ever seen: Tim Duncan.
Duncan is the greatest Spurs player of all-time without question. He is a five-time champion, and without the most clutch shot in the history of the sport by Ray Allen, he could have been 6-0 in the NBA Finals. He is a 15-time All-Star, 2-time NBA regular season MVP, 3 time NBA Finals MVP and has been in the All-Defense team a staggering 15 times. He played 1392 games for the Spurs averaging 19 points and 10.8 rebounds a game over a span of 18 years with a level of consistency matched by very few.
Style of game
He was an absolute professional and conducted himself on the highest level, never getting into any sort of trouble. He played the game in an orthodox fashion, in an effort to maximize efficiency and wins. He never tried to be too flashy to appease fans and didn't try fancy dunks to make SportsCenter. In short, he was not a typical box office player like many of the others, especially his contemporary: Kobe Bryant.
Kobe was almost a polar opposite to Tim in terms of personality and style of play. Kobe was all about showtime and was a huge fan favorite with his incredibly tough shots and clutch plays. The orthodox and conventional style of play doesn't and shouldn't take away from the fact that Tim Duncan was on the same level as Kobe, maybe even better.
Duncan is probably the greatest team player in the history of the sport, not only during the game but off the court too. He took several pay-cuts towards the end of his career in efforts to help the Spurs organization build a strong team around him. There are many greats who've not done the same for their team. On the court, he did his job without any excuses.
He was not the most outspoken player but demonstrated leadership by example through his game. He was a player who wouldn't complain if he was taken off by his coach, even if it was a big moment in the game. He valued wins over statistics and this quality should be greatly appreciated as it is rare.
With these exceptional achievements and qualities, Tim Duncan led one of the greatest teams in NBA history. His San Antonio Spurs team is right up there with the Bill Russell-led Celtics of the 60's, the Showtime Lakers of the 80's and Michael Jordan's Bulls of the 90's. With all these great things said, Duncan should be mentioned in the same conversations and comparisons as all the other greats.
He is definitely a top 10 player of all time and one of the three greatest players of the 21st century.
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