Tim Duncan: The Silent Giant

Stephen DyellContributor IJanuary 30, 2009

Highly talented, very much admired players don’t come around very often. A player that has a combination of exceptional low post techniques and extraordinary defensive awareness is even less common.

So when a player of this caliber does enter the league, you know there is going to be a significant amount of general managers just drooling—wondering "what if" we somehow get this monster.

Who is this monster?

He is not a flashy player like Steve Nash, nor an electrifying player that fills up the seats like Kevin Garnett. He is a down-to-earth basketball sensation, who absolutely demolishes with his aspiring fundamentals.

That’s right I said fundamentals. So, you obviously know who’s name is coming up next.

None other than "The Big Fundamental"—Timothy "Tim" Theodore Duncan.

Born on April 25, 1976 in Christiansted, St. Croix—a group of islands located approximately 50 miles from from Puerto Rico—Duncan has grown to be one of the most intelligent and proficient players in the history of basketball.

The funny thing is that playing basketball wasn’t even one of Timmy’s desires growing up. Instead, he wanted to grow up and become an Olympic-level swimmer.

Early in his life, it seemed that he was destined to be, too. Excelling in this sport, he took it by storm, becoming a stand out in the 50, 100 and 400 meters freestyle.

Instead of becoming a member of the 2002 American swim team, Tim Duncan turned to his local high school basketball team. This chance occurrence for us today was only brought about after a storm destroyed the local pool, forcing the young swimmers to train in the ocean.

The young Duncan was stunned because he had a great fear of sharks and the ocean. The amphibious Duncan was now all dried off and ready for the basketball floor until the unthinkable happened.

Duncan’s mother, Lone, was diagnosed with breast cancer that ended her life shortly after. At 14 years old, Timothy was stunned and saddened by the turn of events.

While many lose family members and decide to grieve, Duncan buried his sadness on the basketball court.

The Christiansted native was on his way.

After a stellar high school career, Tim Duncan chose Wake Forest for his college playing days.

Rumors flooded in about the man nobody had really seen play. Some even said Duncan played even against NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning in a pick-up game. He was a star before he even knew it.

Fast forward 13 years later and you stand to witness one of the greatest power forwards of all time.

He has learned from his peers, and vice versa. Future players will also learn selflessness from Duncan. His ability to put his teammates first helped him claim four NBA titles.

Yet when you break it down, you realize Tim was destined to greatness since he picked up a basketball.

Through the tough loss of his mother, which turned him into one of the top ambassadors of cancer-related events, and also taking over a team from NBA legen David Robinson, Duncan proved that the unexpected can turn into everything you expected and more.

Team before self. Pass before flash. Legend before man.

The great sea creature turned into an extraordinary basketball superstar—Tim Duncan.


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