Tim Duncan… Class & Quiet Dignity

BobLee
July11/ 2016

If Bob Harris was/is The Last of A Breed, what do we consider Tim Duncan? Tim Duncan may be simply a One-Man Anomaly.

Has there ever been anyone else…. kinda like Tim Duncan.

Will there ever be any one about whom they will say reminds us of Tim Duncan?

Tim Duncan retired today after 19 years as a San Antonio Spur.

How many high profile athletes have gone about their business in such a quiet unassuming manner…. Performing at the very highest level for two decades…. Being a part of multiple “world champions” …. while steering clear of media-fueled scandals and jackassified controversy.

Lets use the criteria of:

….. an athlete who played AGAINST your favorite team and beat them more often than not; but did so in such a manner you could not gin up the usual jealous hatred and dislike for them. ….. MAYBE Derek Jeter ….. Akeem Olajuwon ….. David Robinson ….. Stan Musial…. it is a very short list.

I wonder if Chansky and Woody dissed Tim Duncan when he was a Deacon?

Jack Nicklaus became that sort of guy but when a young “Fat Jack” was beating Arnie in those early years he was “the villain”.

Now Tim Duncan retires as that rarest of all professional athletes …. One First-ballot HoF Career / One Team …. move over George Brett, Robin Yount, Jeter, Cal “The Iron Man” and a half dozen or so others. You can’t include “old timers” on that list because there was not “Free Agency” in their era. In honor of tomorrow’s ASG, lets include Tony Gwynn and his Padres.

If I challenged you to come up with something / anything “negative” about Tim Duncan, the “best” (?) you might come up with – he went thru a divorce 5-6 years ago.  Really…. that’s the best you got? I’m sure “that” raised some speculation and rumors around San Antonio but there was never any OMG scandal that “went national”.  Tim left all that stuff to Tony Parker and Eva Longoria.

How might Tim’s career and reputation have evolved in a more combative media market? Could he have navigated NYC as well as Jeter did? We will never know.   The social media sewer is everywhere even in San Antonio. I’m sure Duncan has had his share of scum-sucking trolls trying to disparage him. Who hasn’t?

Does relentless media attention create character flaws or reveal existing character flaws? Nature versus Nurture ??

When Tim was a free agent 10-12 years ago, he made a few visits to a few teams but there was never any real concern that he would leave what he had in San Antonio, and Popp, for more $$$ or a sexier city etc.

One got the impression when it came to $$$$, Duncan was of the Ol’ Roy School of Thought….. how many golf balls does one man need?

I bet his San DuncanHouseAntonio home is very very nice but likely not even the biggest / fanciest on his block. I bet his drives a comfortable SUV…. Not a Lambo or Ferrari.

A look back at Tim Duncan’s entire career tells us a lot about WHY he was the type of Professional Athlete he was…..

He came out of St Croix, Virgin Islands as an unheralded “find” by Dave Odom. He was not a Mickey D nor an AAU Blue Chipper. He chose “little Wake Forest” because, well I’m not sure why, maybe his other choices were even more “not juggernauts”. Maybe he just liked Dave Odom. Most everybody “likes Dave Odom” so that is likely.

He stayed all four years and graduated from WFU with his degree in a for-real major that does not end in “Studies”. Even 20 years ago, no All-American Big Man EVER stayed all four years. Tyler Hansbrough would at UNC but his NBA potential was never projected to be akin to Duncan…. which has proven to be the case.

Other than Spurs fans around San Antonio who might have encountered Duncan around town over 20 years and maybe seen him either smile or grimace…. The rest of us only saw a placid expression behind a slightly bowed head …. The “bowed head” likely a by-product of “tall man’s syndrome” ducking under door sills and trying in vain to not stand out in every room you have entered since you were 16.

DuncanRobinsonEven in a league of very tall men, Tim Duncan was tall save for a few Manute Bols.

Did having “The Admiral” David Robinson as a mentor in his early NBA career help? Probably, but it wasn’t like Tim Duncan The Man was ever “at a character tipping point”.

I have no clue what Tim Duncan’s politics is, nor do I care to know. Today ESPN CEO John Skipper (UNC’75) on-air employees are encouraging AfAm pro athletes to support Black Lives Matter and to glorify the massacre of five Dallas policemen. I bet Tim Duncan doesn’t take that bait. I sure hope not.

I don’t know if Tim Duncan has ever been accused of “not being Black enough”. I suspect he has. He came from middle-class parents in The Caribbean …. not an urban war zone. He was not concerned about “disrespect” or “gotta be me” or all that other clichéd angry black guy stuff.

Those who laud a dabbing Cam will decry my lauding of Tim Duncan.  To each his own….

Another Tim Duncan anomaly was his hair. He had two styles over 20 years ….. (1) clean shaved “Mr Clean” and (2) short. He did sport a close-cropped beard in his later years. Yes…. He had shoulder and arm tatts but I don’t know their message or if there was “a message”.

If he disagreed with a referee’s call he might give a shoulder shrug or a raised eyebrow…. Maybe. He probably got ejected a time or two that I am not aware. Nobody is perfect. He spent 19 years “in the paint” jousting with giants with attitudes and elbows. OK, he was “a giant” too but still…..

Tim Duncan’s nickname became The Big Fundamental because his game was based on consistently playing the game like he was taught to by his coaches along the way. No high-flying thunder dunks for Tim. Economy of movement and being in the right place at the right time.  A CNR kinda player for sure.  🙂

While Tim’s last 2-3 games against The Thunder were NOT Duncan-esque, they were not “Willie Mays as a Met” by any means.

I bet every NBA fan who has enjoyed Tim Duncan’s career was so hoping he would simply retire as befits his reputation. No hyped-up LOOK AT ME  Farewell Tour with dopey gifts and equally dopey platitudes around the NBA.

As with his entire career….. Tim Duncan retires from The NBA like Tim Duncan did everything.

With Class & Quiet Dignity.

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BobLee
  • watts carr Reply
    10 months ago

    BL , nowhere , nowhere in print nor in secret phoncons have those networks you mention , like CBS and NBC , regardless of how slanted some may feel they are , openly espoused propagating half-truths , distortions and even lies to “balance” the news as FOX’s Roger Ailes has so clearly communicated to his employees . He makes no bones about the FOX News mission and it’s NOT to report the truth , it’s to “balance” the reporting even if the truth has to be sacrificed . I’m not going into the recent sexual charges against him because that is both a liberal AND conservative failing apparently .

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      You are privy to the private communiques of the media elite ?? I’m impressed WC. You might consider switching to Decaff.
      .
      Watts, it seems important for you that I agree with you on this media bias thing? If so, you are doomed to eternal disappointment. I am not going to. Hate FoxNews or Donald Trump or whoever, whatever sticks in your craw. Come here and proselytize all you want. I will provide you a forum to do so. I do appreciate that you don’t GO ALLCAPS. …. As for the recent charges re: Ailes that is a most curious situation that has yet to play out.
      .
      We do agree apparently that The Seven Deadly Sins are most definitely non-partisan.

  • watts carr Reply
    10 months ago

    BL , may I agree with all you and others have said about Tim Duncan . There’s no divisiveness on your comment board regarding Duncan’s talent , accomplishments or his life style , and there shouldn’t be . He’s a true sports hero . Sorry to “decry” , as you say , divisiveness in my last post . But , BL , should we promote further divisiveness instead ? Personally I don’t imagine the BLM movement budges anyone from their current postures on matters like gun control , too many cops shooting unarmed black men (or not ) , the inherent dangers in being a black or white policeman in today’s environment , or how one might vote in November . And I respect your approach of allowing all views to be aired because a one-way street like FOX News and , from what you say , ESPN , shouldn’t even be licensed by the FCC . John Skipper at ESPN must at least put up a good front but Roger Ailes at FOX doesn’t even try do that . FOX is providing “balanced” reporting , as Ailes calls it , in order to counter the leftist reporting of the major news networks (not in those “exact” words but close enough) . Maybe we should end or move this discussion over to AP-land as Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan and UNC’s Bobby Jones are a much more pleasant topic for BL SaysWhat !

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      AgentPierce has a blockbuster column up now about the NBA All Star game brouhaha !!!
      .
      If you can shutdown Fox then I get to shut down NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and ESPN. That will leave us with Smithsonian, Food Network, and Bravo. 🙂

  • oldwuf Vet Reply
    10 months ago

    Once again, the comments are nearly as good as BL’s on-point commentary. One of the commenters recitation of ” sticks and stones” caused me to chortle loudly. Pretty damn ironic coming from a leftist. As I’ve watched the the sensitivity threshold of society plummet over the past few years I’ve thought of my mother’s frequent reminder that “Sticks and stones may…” Everytime I was picked-on or “bullied”(which was often). I think based on those experiences, verbal slights tend to just roll on off. I was shocked to see “sticks and stones” used; I thought that had been relegated to the progressive’s ever-growing heap of offensive, disrespectful trigger words. Why don’t we go back to teaching our kids that??

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      I fear any “back to the good ol days” is not an option.

  • Wayne Copeland Reply
    10 months ago

    Bob, I agree completely with your assessment of Tim Duncan. He reminds me of another great college and pro athlete and North Carolina native Bobby Jones.He never sought credit for himself. The last I heard Bobby was coaching at a small Christian school in Charlotte. I feel sure he does not need the job. I believe it is his commitment to have a positive influence on young people. Anyone that I have heard comment about Bobby hold him in high regard.

    re

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      Great comparison!! Thanks.

  • FightingBobKennel, Jr. Reply
    10 months ago

    I invented the Virgin Islands. Just thought you should know that.

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      FBK… where you been dude!

  • watts carr Reply
    10 months ago

    Did Beadle and Jones , as you imply , actually say that people/anyone (especially Af-Am athletes ) should endorse BLM ….AND that “the shooting of those policemen should be glorified” ? BL , tell me the second part of that just ain’t so ! As for BLM I’m afraid too much has been said about it already and too many folks are chewing on their sneakers because of what they said or how it’s been interpreted . BUT , I think A(ll)LM and the only thing generated by B(lack) LM or B(lue)LM or E(piscopal)LM is further divisiveness in a country that needs no more.

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      Those exact words? No, Watts, not those exact words. Did the ESPN personnel, especially Bomani Jones, only present the side of BLM? Yes. Applying no responsibility or accountability to BLM activists for their anarchists threats and hostile actions. Bomani is well-known as an aggressive black activist… which IMO is fine… but if ESPN truly represented “America” it would allow conflicting POV which it decidedly does not well beyond Schilling. … Decrying the divisiveness in America at this point is sooooo after the horse is way out of the barn. Whatever previous model for political squabbling you might want to compare “these times” to doesn’t fit at all. THIS is a whole new ball game.
      .
      I don’t have “a solution” but the next 3-4 months are going to very very nasty and scary… and whoever “wins” in November won’t really change anything.

  • Mat Reply
    10 months ago

    I actually interacted with him many times back when he played for Wake Forest, and he truly is a good guy….

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      Never heard a negative about him from anyone who has ever “known him” to any degree including a San Antonio “mover-shaker”.

  • Chris Reply
    10 months ago

    “Economy of movement”. Exactly right.

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      I am nothing if not a “word merchant”.

  • watts carr Reply
    10 months ago

    Where exactly can I find the call out for Af-Am athletes to “glorify the murders of the Dallas policemen” ?

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      You could have watched/listened to Michelle Beadle on ESPN yesterday for one… or Bomani Jones for two. How do you feel about BLM, Watts?
      .
      Let me give you a fuller answer. Mixing sports & politics is inevitable. I have no problem as I do it often. I also allow you or BK or anyone to express opinions contrary to mine unedited. ESPN (CEO John Skipper -UNC’75) does NOT allow alternative opinions. Ask Curt Schilling. There are alternatives opinions to BLM / Obama Admin on the very important issue of Race In America. The KKK is NOT the only other answer despite what certain media platforms suggest is the answer from “people like me”.

      • urabm Reply
        10 months ago

        “ESPN (CEO John Skipper -UNC’75) does NOT allow alternative opinions.”

        “If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, (but) adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals … I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ” – Chris Broussard, April 29, 2013

        It’s obvious you pick your squabbles based on the college a person attended.

        • BobLee Reply
          10 months ago

          Actually I am consistently critical of both Adam Silver (Duke) and Melissa Harris-Perry (Wake Forest). If I recall, Broussard was “officially reprimanded” for that three years ago.

          • urabm
            10 months ago

            bob, again, you’re confused about quotation marks. It’s for quoting another source, not your personal memory. Maybe a link would clarify?

            Even if he was reprimanded, that’s not the point. Broussard is still employed, so clearly there’s a way to express hatred for another person’s lifestyle on ESPN. I’m pretty sure no one commended the shooting of innocent police officers. If they did, they should be taken off the air.

          • Bobby Salmon
            10 months ago

            “Hatred”…I don’t see hatred in the comments by Broussard but rather just a disagreement with various lifestyles that run counter to his beliefs. Classifying that as hatred is why it so hard to have a discussion about important topics facing us today. Either you agree with a lifestyle/point of view and embrace it or you are called a hater by the liberals. News flash….you can disagree without hate!!

          • BobLee
            10 months ago

            At least you used to be able to …. in “the good old days”. … sigh, sob, sniff.

          • urabm
            10 months ago

            Broussard is still employed, so clearly there’s a way to express hatred dislike for another person’s lifestyle on ESPN. PC’d it for ya. Sticks and stones.

  • Bill Brockman Reply
    10 months ago

    Have to agree with what you and everyone who has commented thus far about Mr. Duncan have said. I don’t really have anything to add except that I can answer your question about disliking him when his teams were beating “my teams.” I remember that 24 years ago when I was still drinking deeply of the Carolina Blue Koolaid I just couldn’t find a single thing to dislike about him. Ditto when his Spurs were beating “my” Hornets/Pelicans.

    As you know, I love golf, so I have to agree with your comparison of him to Jack Nicklaus. Heck, you might even compare him to Bobby Jones. Pure class and unequalled skill.

    Hadn’t even heard of his divorce, but “let he who is without sin….” Of course, I understand that you, as an internet legend, cannot live by those words perfectly; but isn’t it great once in a while to have nothing but positive things to write about someone?

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      Bill, my first reaction is I wished there were unlimited numbers of Tim Duncans to applaud and I do; but writing about them every day would be like living in South Florida where the weather never changes. Life is more interesting with a variety of weather and topics.

  • tarspartan Reply
    10 months ago

    I’m currently back in NC on vacation, yet I know my adopted hometown of San Antonio is in mourning. Tim Duncan has been nothing but a class act and is universally respected. How will HEB (the local San Antonio grocery store) have commercials without Tim Duncan? Oh, and as far as I know, Timmy’s only ejection was when he once disagreed with Joey Crawford’s call and laughed from the bench. Crawford proceeded to eject him for laughing.

    Something else to consider is Duncan’s leadership. While he may not have been the type to fire up his fellow players, he led by example. Best of all, he let himself be coached. When the Greatest Power Forward of All Time is sitting back and letting his coach yell at him in practice, what room does a hotshot rookie have to complain?

    The closest comparison we may have to Duncan is Bill Russell. All he did was win, too.

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      Russell was “an activist” for his era. But as a fundamentally sound “winner” BR certainly qualifies.

  • NCSU68Grad Reply
    10 months ago

    Little known story about Duncan’s recruiting. I had read this somewhere else….so it has, at least for me, accuracy.

    http://www.foxsports.com/nba/story/tim-duncan-wake-forest-retire-san-antonio-spurs-st-croix-summer-recruited-demon-deacons-051316

    I remember the comments and the OTHER article (or it may have been in Feinstein’s “The Legends Club”. Odom was so overcome (impressed) with the youngster’s maturity that he made an instant decision to “Sign him”.

    Speaks well of Odom’s wisdom and also of Duncan’s maturity. He probably does NOT get Father’s day cards from all over the country. Sure wish that folks like him with stand beside Dallas Police Chief David Brown and convince some of the “protesters” to become part of the solution instead of the screaming and media circus protesters…..

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      I would bet 95% of pro jocks can’t name their US Senators or the Veep. They respond to bright shiny things and skanky gals.

  • RC Reply
    10 months ago

    Completely agree. Consummate pro and, as far as we know, human being.

    • BobLee Reply
      10 months ago

      It’s 2016. I’m pretty sure if he wasn’t (a fine human being) we would know by now…. even way down yonder in San Antonio.

      • RC Reply
        10 months ago

        I know, BL, it’s just that I have been so disappointed over the last few decades with a lot of my “heroes”, I’m just very careful these days.

        • BobLee Reply
          10 months ago

          I hear that. 🙂

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