Timothy Theodore Duncan (born April 25, 1976 in Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands) is an NBA basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs, playing at the power forward position. Nicknamed "The Big Fundamental", he is noted for his poise, scoring, rebounding, and positioning ability in the offensive post, and effectiveness using some of the most basic and fundamental basketball moves. His list of accomplishments and leadership in the Spurs' NBA title runs in 1999, 2003, and 2005 have led many to consider him to be the greatest power forward in NBA history.
The son of William and Ione Duncan, he was a nationally-ranked swimmer at St. Dunstan's Episcopal High School in the Virgin Islands before the island's only Olympic-size pool was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. From there, Tim Duncan switched his focus to basketball, although he did not begin playing organized basketball until the ninth grade.
Tim Duncan was a three-time ACC Player of the Year with the Wake Forest University Demon Deacons.
Duncan was an All-American at Wake Forest, where he finished with honors in psychology. Duncan won the 1997 John Wooden Award as the NCAA's best overall male player based on the votes of sportscasters and news writers. In that season, Duncan averaged 20.8 points per game and 14.7 rebounds per game. Duncan finished his college career as the leading shot blocker in NCAA history, and he is one of only 10 players with more than 2,000 career points and 1,500 career rebounds. He was also the first player in NCAA history to reach 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 blocked shots and 200 assists.
He was drafted with the first pick of the 1997 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs, and immediately made an impact, averaging 21.1 points per game his first season. The Spurs were able to pick Duncan (the first senior to be selected first overall since Larry Johnson) due to the fact that they were coming off a 20-62 season due to a David Robinson injury.
During the lockout-shortened 1999 NBA season, Duncan and David Robinson formed the Spurs' "Twin Towers" and both led the Spurs to the franchise's first NBA Finals trophy by beating the New York Knicks in five games.
In the 2001-02 season, Duncan was named the league's Most Valuable Player, joining teammate David Robinson as Spurs members who have earned the honor. After 2002-2003, Duncan was named MVP for the second season in a row. Duncan and his Spurs teammates made it to the NBA finals once again, defeating the New Jersey Nets 88-77 in Game Six to win the NBA championship. Duncan was named Finals MVP, and he and Robinson shared Sports Illustrated magazine's 2003 "Sportsmen of the Year" award. His lifetime averages in points, blocks, assists, and rebounds are higher in the playoffs than in the regular season. In the last game of the 2003 NBA Finals, Duncan was two blocks away from a quadruple-double, finishing with 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists and 8 blocks. In 2005, Duncan came up big in Game 7 of the finals with 25 points and 11 rebounds to defeat the Detroit Pistons, despite struggling from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Duncan won his third NBA Finals MVP Award, joining Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, and Magic Johnson as the only players to win it three times.
Duncan ranked #55 on SLAM Magazine's Top 75 NBA Players of all time in 2003.
Tim is also known for his low-profile and sportsmanship off the court as well as on. He is a benefactor of many charities for cancer research since both his parents died of the disease.
Duncan played with the United States national team in the Championship of The Americas in Puerto Rico, helping them qualify for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. However, a knee injury forced him to stay out of the Olympic Games.
Four years later, Duncan was a member of Dream Team IV, competing in basketball at the 2004 Summer Olympics. The team lost its right to the "Dream Team" nickname by losing three games on their way to a bronze medal. That record represented more losses in a single year than in the 68 previous years combined. It was also the first time since NBA professionals became eligible that the U.S. Men's basketball team returned home without gold medals. After their last game Duncan provided a concise summary of his experience on the team:
"I am about 95 percent sure my FIBA career is over. I'll try not to share my experiences with anyone."
Duncan asserted this statement shortly after the Olympics ended. His frustration drew from foul trouble, as he was picking up fouls at a rate twice as fast as in the NBA. He sat out a large majority of the crucial game against Argentina, who would later go on to win the gold in 2004 Olympics in basketball. His teammate on the San Antonio Spurs, Manu Ginobili, led the team to victory.
On January 8, 2006, Duncan announced that he will not play for the United States Olympic team at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Throughout his whole career, Duncan has been seen as one of the most complete, dominant and consistent players of the NBA, as having been both nominated for both the All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams in the last eleven consecutive years and being a perennial NBA MVP and NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award candidate. He is the only player in NBA history to earn both All-NBA and All-Defensive honors in each of his first 11 seasons.
With a double double career average, Tim Duncan is one of the most consistent players in the NBA, having been selected in all eleven years of his professional career for both the All-NBA and All-Defensive teams and for being a perennial Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year candidate. As one of the league's best interior defenders, he ranks constantly as one of the top scorers, rebounders, and shot blockers in the league. On offense, he regularly abuses opposing big men with his smooth footwork and his vast array of fake moves. He has a very complete offensive game, being seemingly able to score at will, both in the paint and from outside. His trademark off-the-glass bankshot is near-unguardable.
Duncan is famous for his graceful finesse on the court and for his low key demeanor. Possessing a sound all-around game, he has been dubbed "The Big Fundamental" by fellow NBA player Shaquille O'Neal. He has also been called "Groundhog Day" by former basketball star and current NBA analyst for TNT Charles Barkley because of his ability to produce very consistently on a day-to-day basis. His signature offensive moves are his smooth footwork and his accurate bank shot.
In addition to his impressive statistics, he has also gained a reputation of being a great passer and as a very good clutch player (proven by the fact that he won three NBA Finals MVP awards). He is the undisputed Spurs franchise player, but strikingly unselfish, letting other teammates dominate the game if they have a great day. Under his tutelage, players like Tony Parker, Bruce Bowen, and Manu Ginobili became legitimate NBA stars. Duncan is currently regarded as one of the rare players who could transform any NBA franchise into a title contender.
His only drawback seems to be his somewhat inconsistent free throw shooting. However, experts and fans widely agree that Duncan is one of the best players of his generation.
With his mix of talent, work ethic, leadership, poise and success, few dispute that Duncan is the best power forward of his generation. As of 2005, after winning his third NBA champions' ring and the third Finals MVP title, a growing number of basketball fans think that he may be the best power forward of all time:
- Karl Malone is considered to be the quintessential power forward, but never won the NBA championship. Duncan has won three titles already, winning the NBA Finals MVP title every time.
- Kevin McHale, another stellar power forward, won the NBA title three times, but was constantly eclipsed by Larry Bird. Duncan, in contrast, is the unrivaled leader of his team. The roughly same case can be made for Bob McAdoo, who won two rings with the Lakers led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
- Great power forwards Bob Pettit, Jerry Lucas and Elvin Hayes won one NBA championship each, one more than comparables Elgin Baylor, Charles Barkley and contemporary rival Kevin Garnett.
- Dennis Rodman and Robert Horry won five and six titles respectively, but they were never considered the best players of their teams. (The latter is one of Duncan's current teammates.)
- Nicknamed "Merlin," due to his love of the fantasy role playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, and renaissance fairs.
- Has a tattoo of Merlin the Magician on his back and a Skele-jester on his left pectoral muscle.
- Before his mother succumbed to breast cancer, Tim promised her he would complete his university degree before playing basketball professionally.
- His wife Amy was a cheerleader at Wake Forest University. She now oversees the Tim Duncan Foundation, which has been established to serve the areas of health awareness/research, education, and youth sports/recreation in San Antonio, Winston-Salem, and the United States Virgin Islands. The couple welcomed their first child, a daughter, in late June 2005.
- He is known for a calm, cool demeanor on the court, choosing to emphatically discuss calls with the referees rather than ranting and raving.
- When Duncan was called "soft" by ACC rival and Duke center Greg Newton, he responded by challenging Newton's qualifications for making the assessment, facetiously pointing out that Newton was "everybody's All-American".
- His favorite film is The Crow.
- Tim is a big fan of the Chicago Bears.
- His hobbies include collecting knives.
- 2-time NBA Most Valuable Player: 2002, 2003
- 2-time TSN NBA Most Valuable Player: 2002, 2003
- 4-time NBA Champion: 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007
- 3-time NBA Finals MVP: 1999, 2003, 2005
- 13-time NBA All-Star: 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009,2010,2011
- 10-time starter (2000-2009)
- NBA All-Star Game MVP: 2000
- 13-time All-NBA:
- First Team: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007
- Second Team: 2006, 2008,2009
- Third Team: 2010
- 13-time All-Defensive:
- First Team: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008
- Second Team: 1998, 2004, 2006,2009,2010
- NBA All-Rookie First Team: 1998
- NBA Rookie of the Year: 1998
- TSN NBA Rookie of the Year: 1998
- NBA regular-season leader, field goals made: 2002 (764)
- NBA regular-season leader, total rebounds: 2002 (1,042)
- One of only five players to receive All-NBA First Team honors in each of his first 8 seasons (1998–2005), along with Hall of Famers Larry Bird, George Mikan, Bob Pettit, and Oscar Robertson.
- Only player in NBA history to receive All-NBA and All-Defensive honors in his first 9, 10, and 11 seasons (1998–2008).
- NBA playoff records:
- NBA Finals records:
- John R. Wooden Award: 1997
- Naismith College Player of the Year: 1997
- On February 18, 2006, Named one of the Next 10 Greatest Players on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the release of the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
- Official Website
- Sports Illustrated Summary
- NBA.com Profile
- Tim Duncan's U.S. Olympic Team bio ... with photos, facts and stats
- Career Statistics at Basketball-Reference.com
- Career Statistics at databaseBasketball.com