Heading into the San Antonio Spurs‘ Friday night game against the Utah Jazz, Tim Duncan needed just three rebounds to pass Shaquille O’Neal on the NBA‘s career rebounding list. He buried that number by pulling down 16 boards to move to 13th all-time among NBA rebounders. The fact he had so many when Duncan only needed three plus the fact 16 is only his fifth-highest total of the season just goes to show exactly how much the seven-footer means to the Spurs even in his 16th NBA season at age 36.
Duncan coming into the NBA mean instant success for the Spurs. The first overall pick in 1997 teamed up with David Robinson to bring San Antonio its first title and then led a pair of guards that also grew up outside of the U.S. to win three more. He’s been rebounding, scoring and dishing assists ever since and even though his minutes have diminished in recent years, the two-time MVP is still putting up those types of numbers and coming through for the Spurs when opponents double-team Tony Parker.
The craziest part is the story of his historic career might have one more chapter to go. The Spurs are well on their way to a third straight No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs and they seem to be on a collision course with the streaking Miami Heat for an old school vs. new school showdown in the 2013 NBA Finals. Although all eyes will likely be on Parker at that point, but you can bet Duncan will leave his stamp on one final championship appearance if the Spurs get that far.