Tim Duncan and the Mindless Media

Posted: May 22, 2012 in NBA
Tags: , , , , ,

With the San Antonio Spurs breezing through the playoffs – they’ve swept their first two postseason opponents — analysts from coast to coast are falling in love again with Tim Duncan. Everywhere in NBA circles the is-Duncan-the-best-power-forward-ever debate has resurfaced. He is being hailed once again as the least appreciated superstar in NBA history.

ESPN analysts are falling all over themselves talking about how incredibly smart and fundamentally sound Duncan plays the game. Over at TNT the analysts are talking about how he looks better than ever at the NBA advanced age of 36. Newspaper columnists – when they aren’t bashing LeBron James – are writing about how the Spurs and Duncan are headed for their 5th NBA championship.

They all act as if they’ve discovered something we didn’t already know? What’s changed about Duncan since he came out of Wake Forest University?

The topper was Sports Illustrated. The current issue’s main article is about Duncan and titled “The Greatest Unappreciated Superstar Ever.” The magazine’s cover boy, however, is a high school basketball player. Are the editors at SI that clever?

Any time you start debating about who’s the best ever at whatever, you need to be prepared for a long argument. How do you accurately compared athletes from different eras or athletes who play different positions? The Duncan debate actually starts with: what position does he play? He’s nearly always listed as a power forward, but Greg Popovich, his coach in San Antonio, always calls him a center.

Duncan has been a picture of consistency throughout his career. His statistics have varied little from one season to the next. That consistency includes his demeanor and personality, and that’s the most obvious clue to why he’s so often overlooked. In an age of flash, chest-beating and loud mouths, Duncan has always remained stoic on the court and polite but incredibly private off the court.

So, yes, Duncan probably is the greatest unappreciated star in NBA history, but that isn’t his fault. Those screaming analysts and “insightful” columnists are to blame for being blinded by their failure to see the obvious year in and year out.


  1. Wyman says:

    Reminds me of Hank Aaron, before it became obvious he was within striking distance of Babe Ruth’s alltime homerun record. He wasn’t Mickey Mantle and he wasn’t Willie Mays, but by the end of the season, he might have more homeruns and RBIs than those two greats, since he was usually good for 40 homers and lots of doubles. But, he was a quiet line-drive hitter and for years, Eddie Mathews probably got more sportswriters ink than Hank, on his own Braves team.

    I tip my hat to him, for I was not impressed with him at Wake Forest. Didn’t realize, to him, being consistent was more important than being impressive or flashy. Constantly improving was more important than recognition. He’s earned my respect. There are no highlight films that capture’s earning people’s respect. I will continue to forget your name Tim Duncan, but not your consistent play. You’re right David Lamm, Tim Duncan has been in front of us to see all along. Excellent post!

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