Words cannot do Tim Duncan justice, but Charles Barkley came the closest when he said, "I have seen the future of the game...and he wears no. 21."
Timothy Theodore Duncan was born on February 4th, 1976, and was raised on the small island of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. Tim was an accomplished swimmer as a youngster, and didn't begin playing organised basketball until he was about 14 years old, when hurricane Hugo swept through the the Caribbean and changed his life forever.
His mother, Ione, who had been ill with breast cancer, was unable to continue with her chemotherapy treatments due to the destroyed power lines and resulting loss of electricity on the island, and soon succumbed to the disease. Also, the hurricane had destroyed all the swimming pools on the island, and young Tim was too scared of sharks to practise in the ocean with the rest of his teammates. So he decided to take up basketball.
In 1992, a group of touring National Basketball Association players stopped in St. Croix for an exhibition game, among them Alonzo Mourning and Wake Forest alum Chris King. Duncan, who played against them, caught King's eye, and he notified Wake Forest basketball coach Dave Odom about the young Duncan, who prompty came down to St. Croix to see Duncan play.
After being recruited by Wake Forest, Tim averaged nearly a double-double in his freshman year, while setting a school record for blocks in a season. As a sophomore, Duncan got his double-double average in ppg and rpg, as well as 4.2 bpg. By the end of his senior year, Tim had been named the NCAA Player of the Year, the National Defensive Player of the Year (for the third time running), won both the Wooden Award and the Naismith Award, as well as finishing as the ACC's all-time leader in blocks. Having promised his dying mother that he would earn himself a degree, Tim also graduated with a degree in psychology.
In the 1997 NBA Draft. Tim Duncan was selected first overall by the San Antonio Spurs. After the Spurs' first year with Duncan, they finished with a 56-26 record, improving by 36 wins over their previous season, which marked the biggest increase in league history. Tim averaged a whopping 21.1 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 2.5 bpg, while shooting 54.9%. He earned Rookie of the Month for all six months of the season, and won Rookie of the Year at the end of the season. He was also the only rookie selected to play in the NBA All-Star game that year.
In his sophomore season, Duncan was named to both the All-NBA first team and the All-NBA Defensive Team (a feat he repeated in '99-'00 and '00-'01). In 1999-2000, he led the Spurs to their first NBA Championship title, and was named Finals MVP. From 1998-2001, he has led the league in double-doubles, and had consistently improved each season. In 2000-2001 he averaged 25 ppg, 21.7 bpg, 3.7 apg, and 2.48 bpg. He also beat out Jason Kidd for league MVP honors. An astoundingly skilled and complete player, he is highly ranked in many NBA categories, including:
- #5 in the NBA in Points Per Game(25.5)
- #2 in the NBA in Rebounds Per Game(12.7)
- #9 in the NBA in Field-Goal Percentage(0.508)
- #3 in the NBA in Blocks Per Game(2.48)
- #6 in the NBA in Minutes Per Game(40.6)
- #2 in the NBA in Minutes Played(3329.0)
- #1 in the NBA in Field Goals Made(764.0)
- #7 in the NBA in Field Goal Attempts(1504.0)
- #1 in the NBA in Free Throws(560.0)
- #2 in the NBA in Free Throw Attempts(701.0)
- #5 in the NBA in Offensive Rebounds(268.0)
- #6 in the NBA in Offensive Rebounds Per Game(3.3)
- #1 in the NBA in Defensive Rebounds(774.0)
- #1 in the NBA in Defensive Rebounds Per Game(9.4)
- #1 in the NBA in Total Rebounds(1042.0)
- #1 in the NBA in Double-doubles(67.0)
On the court, Tim Duncan can be described as powerful and inherently graceful, while possessing the unique ability to improve everyone around him. He also displays this ability in his personal life. He rejects the glamor of a typical NBA lifestyle, and shows an indifference to media attention. He supports a numbers of charities, including the Children's Bereavement Center of San Antonio, which works with young children who have lost parents (Tim's remaining parent, his father Bill, unfortunately passed away this May during playoffs). He also holds the annual Tim Duncan Charity Golf Classic to benefit the Kids' Sports Network, and purchases a block of 25 tickets for every home game (called "Timbuktu"), which are distributed to children who wouldn't otherwise be able to come to the game.
Duncan also hosts events to raise money for cancer research, such as the annual Tim Duncan Bowling for Dollar Charity Bowl-a-Thon, and has partnered with Sprite and Ultramar Diamond Shamrock for his Beat Cancer program.
all stats from www.nba.com