Tim Duncan is a lot of things. Young isn't one of them.
The 36-year-old San Antonio Spurs forward has been around for a long time. Since 1997, Duncan has been lacing up his shoes and throwing a Spurs jersey over his head before heading onto the court.
Now, in "real world" terms, Duncan isn't really that old. But in the world of professional sports, Duncan is considered one of the wise elders.
He was the Spurs' first-overall draft selection over 15 years ago, and he hasn't played for another NBA squad in that time.
Given how long he's been in San Antonio, many people feel like he's been wearing the black, silver and white forever.
And yet, he doesn't play like the old guy he really is. Yes, he's been around the block a few times. But Duncan continues to excel in a young man's game.
The former Wake Forest Demon Deacon made his 2012-2013 regular season debut for the Spurs on Halloween night. Matched up against the New Orleans Hornets, the Spurs were the clear favorite. By the time the buzzer sounded, the 99-95 San Antonio win was closer than expected.
What wasn't so expected was Duncan's return to top-form. Sure, he's had better games in the past. But his 24 points and 11 rebounds were nothing to laugh at.
Last season, Duncan didn't appear to be himself. Perhaps it was because of the shortened season; others have said it had disturbed his training schedule (via CBS Sports).
However, based on what he's done so far, Duncan is back and ready to go.
At 6'11'', 255 pounds, Duncan is still able to physically overpower younger players. Case in point: his recent posterization of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka.
He's also rejected Thunder superstar Kevin Durant on a fast-break dunk attempt. So why does he seem so slow?
Whenever a non-Spurs fan watches one of their games on television, it's as though Duncan moves in slow motion. He just lumbers his way up and down the court, and many times, he certainly doesn't seem like a true athlete.
And that's where people get it wrong. Duncan's more than just an athlete: He's a leader of a franchise that contends for glory nearly every season.
Duncan's got it all right. He's knows exactly what he's doing out there. The Spurs forward has played nearly 48,000 minutes on NBA hardwood. These days, he's making them all count.
For a veteran his age, Duncan still plays over 30 minutes a night. It's almost surprising when he doesn't leave the game without at least coming close to a double-double.
Seeing how he's played in the first two games of the season, Duncan doesn't appear interested in slowing down.
Of course it's still early, and yes, judgments shouldn't be made quite yet. But if anything's obvious, it's that the old man still has game.
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