Tim Duncan and 10 NBA Players We Can't Imagine Wearing a Different Uniform
In the wake of Tim Duncan's decision to remain with the San Antonio Spurs for one more season and not opt out of the final year of his contract, let's take a look at the 10 players that we can't imagine wearing a different uniform.
Some players in NBA history, guys like Michael Jordan for example, switched teams at the end of their careers and the result just looked...wrong. Did anyone actually think it was normal for Jordan to wear a Washington uniform after he unretired?
If these 10 current players were to switch teams, they'd draw second glances because of the strangeness of their new appearance.
Duncan is only one of the 10 though, so who are the other nine?
Fast forwarding quite a few years, Bryant was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th pick of the 1996 NBA draft, but he was immediately traded to the Lakers. Jerry West had such confidence in the 17-year-old that he gave up Vlade Divac for him.
Obviously it paid off, as Bryant has been a perennial All-Star for the Lakers ever since. With the team, he's won five championships, won an MVP award, made 13 All-Star teams and achieved countless other things.
There's the occasional summer where Kobe wants a trade to be made so he can play on a better team, but the trade never seems to come.
Purple and gold is all he will ever wear.
Maybe it's just that Tim Duncan's quiet and unassuming personality seems to fit perfectly with the rather-nondescript black and gray uniforms that belong to the San Antonio organization, but whatever the reason, Duncan just seems like a Spur.
The big man from Wake Forest was drafted by the top-tier franchise back in 1997 when the Spurs decided to spend the top overall pick on him.
Ever since that moment, Duncan has been a contributing member of the team and has never complained once. Well, I guess it would be tough to complain while a member of a contender, which the Spurs have been seemingly every single year.
After winning two MVP awards and four championships, Duncan has gone through a dry spell, but still recently chose not to opt out of the final year of his contract.
Still young at only 22 years of age, Kevin Durant has already matured into one of the league's premier scorers and superstars, winning each of the last two scoring titles.
Durant entered the league in 2007 when the Seattle SuperSonics drafted him second overall behind Ohio State's Greg Oden. After his Rookie of the Year campaign was successful, Durant moved with the franchise to Oklahoma City and hasn't looked back ever since.
With general manager Sam Presti running the show, the Thunder have quickly become a title contender with Durant featured as the central piece to the puzzle. The scoring machine has already made two All-Star teams.
Before the 2010 season, in the midst of the free agent frenzy encircling LeBron James, Kevin Durant simply tweeted that he had signed a five-year extension with his team. That won't be the last one he signs.
The second San Antonio Spur on this list, Manu Ginobili was drafted by the Spurs back in 1999. Amazingly enough, San Antonio stole Ginobili with the 57th pick of that draft, taking him only one selection before the draft ended.
Since that moment, I don't think that the Argentinian shooting guard has ever complained about being a part of that team. After all, he has managed to win three titles, make two All-Star teams and win a Sixth Man of the Year award while wearing a San Antonio uniform.
At this point, it's just really hard to think about Ginobili ever putting on another jersey. I seriously doubt it will ever happen.
Now Tony Parker on the other hand...
Blake Griffin may have only played one season in the NBA so far, but it was a pretty damn good one. After all, he won the Slam Dunk Contest and was named Rookie of the Year after posting 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while getting better each month as the season progressed.
More than anything else though, Griffin captured the nation's attention. He provided highlight after highlight, mostly in the forms of slam dunks. We basketball fans were force-fed Griffin mania whether we liked it or not; most of us did.
Because of that, we already can't imagine Griffin anywhere else but with the team that drafted him with the top pick of the 2009 NBA draft.
Steve Nash may have started his career in Phoenix as the Suns drafted him with the 15th pick of the 1996 NBA draft, but it was with the Dallas Mavericks that he really made a name for himself. Now one of the greatest point guards to ever pick up a basketball, Nash is the only player on this list that has played for multiple teams.
But, after his time in Dallas, Nash signed a contract in free agency that allowed him to return to the desert, where he continued to lead the league in assists or come close year after year. It was in Phoenix that Nash won both of his MVP awards and made five of his seven All-Star teams.
The one thing that Nash has missing from his resume is a title, and he most likely won't get one with the Suns. But the point guard is way too loyal to ever request a trade to a contender, something that Phoenix would almost have to do for him if he ever asked.
For that reason, Nash will remain in the jersey we will forever picture him in.
Does this one really even need any explanation right now?
After laboring away with the same franchise unsuccessfully ever since 1998 (when the Milwaukee Bucks drafted him and immediately traded him to the Dallas Mavericks), Dirk finally got his title this season, proving that tenacity really does pay off.
He's an ultimate example of team loyalty and would never even dream of joining a different team.
Twenty years from now, it will be quite interesting to see how Paul Pierce is remembered. He should probably end up in the pantheon of Celtics greats, not quite at the Bill Russell or Larry Bird level but not too far behind.
Pierce was drafted by Boston with the 10th pick of the 1998 NBA draft and has been a proud, albeit unathletic-looking, member of the Celtics ever since. Sticking with the team through the thick and thin, Pierce has collected one ring and nine All-Star selections from that moment on.
If he didn't request a trade or find a way off the team during the bad times, there's no way Pierce will leave during the good ones.
He's a Celtic for life.
He was the league's Rookie of the Year after his first season, made the All-Star team during his sophomore season and then was both an All-Star and the league MVP after his third. Because of his success with the team, it's hard to imagine him ever leaving, despite the amount of time he has left in his promising career.
The Bulls also have a rather decent history of treating star players well. Remember this guy named Michael Jordan?
Ever since the Miami Heat selected him with the fifth pick of the star-studded 2003 NBA Draft, Dwyane Wade has been the model of loyalty and excellence, making him one of the most popular players in the entire NBA.
In his eight seasons with the Heat Wade has made seven All-Star teams and won both a championship and a scoring title.
But most recently, Wade was finally eligible for free agency and had the choice to go anywhere he wanted. Instead of leaving the Heat, Wade instead called together a meeting with other free agents and brought both LeBron James and Chris Bosh to form a super-trio with him at South Beach.
If he didn't leave then, he never will.