There are good players. There are great players. Then, there are legends. The 2013 NBA Finals features quite a few good players, a couple of great ones – but only one legend: Tim Duncan. The face of the San Antonio Spurs franchise for over a decade has achieved essentially all there is to achieve in his NBA career. But, if that’s the case, what will a fifth championship do for his legacy?
Duncan has been so good for so long, that sometimes people forget and overlook his greatness. In his first 13 seasons as a pro he was given All-NBA and All-Defensive honors – the only player in league history to accomplish that feat. This season was no different, as he stockpiled one more of each honor.
With four championships already, what’s in it for Duncan this time? Well, a fifth title would certainly solidify Duncan as one of the – if not the – greatest player(s) of his generation. Yes, even greater than Kobe Bryant to some. Duncan has two regular season MVP awards and three more coming in the Finals during his career. Not even Bryant can say that.
It is quite entertaining when I hear people tell me that Duncan is just an okay basketball player because he is ‘boring.’ By boring, I tell them, they mean he has perfected nearly every fundamental there is in the textbook and for that, they criticize.
Duncan may not be flashy, quick or have the highest vertical but if you ask most NBA fans he is easily one of the most entertaining players to watch in all of basketball. No one is as efficient on both ends as Duncan has been in this century.
A fifth title would mean a fifth opportunity to share his humble stardom with the world on the biggest stage of all. Duncan has always showed tremendous class at all points in his career, especially when it comes to giving credit elsewhere for a championship.
He would have the ability to cement himself and head coach Gregg Popovich into the history books as one of the greatest player-coach duos of all-time. Part of what makes them great is the fact that they give credit where credit is due: The team, management and of course the fans.
A humble champion. That is what Duncan is. With so many accolades it would be just as easy to let them get to his head, but that’s just not Mr. Fundamental’s style. As Duncan and his teammates prepare for another run at a ring, let’s all remember that win or lose, he is already a legend. This one, however, would be the icing on the cake.