Tim Duncan: The Silent Giant

Stephen DyellCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2009

DALLAS - APRIL 25:  Forward Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs during play against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 25, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Highly talented, admired basketball players don’t come around very often. To have a combination of exceptional low-post techniques, as well as extraordinary defensive awareness is even less common.

So when a player of this caliber does enter the NBA, 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 opponents with his aspiring fundamentals.

That’s right, I said fundamentals.

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 Puerto Rico—Duncan has grown to be one of the most intelligent and proficient players in the history of basketball.

It's amazing to think 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, and
 it seemed he was destined to be one.

Excelling as a swimmer,  he took this sport by storm, becoming a standout in the 50-, 100- and 400-meter freestyle.

Instead of becoming a member of the 2002 American swim team, 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 staggered because he had a great fear of sharks and the ocean. Duncan was now all dried off and ready for the basketball floor.

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That is, until the unthinkable happened.

Duncan’s mother, Lone, was diagnosed with breast cancer that ended her life shortly after. At 14, 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, 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, along with taking over a team from NBA legend 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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