In the NBA the ring is the thing and once you got one you want the second and third. As Tim Duncan’s career nears an end he is looking to bolster his hall-of-fame resume with a fifth championship ring with the Spurs. To add that fifth ring Duncan and the Spurs will have to go through LeBron James and the Heat, the team that kept it from them last year.
Growing up in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Duncan had no interest in basketball he instead had dreams of going to the Olympics as a swimmer. He excelled at swimming and was building to a spot on the 1992 US Swimming team until Hurricane Hugo destroyed the only Olympic pool on the island in 1989. Duncan tried to swim in the ocean but a fear of sharks forced him to give up swimming and pick up basketball.
Duncan played his first year of basketball in the 9th grade. He was very tall and athletic but it was an awkward transition for Duncan to make. By his senior year of high school Duncan had become a standout player averaging 25 points a game. His play got the attention of a number of universities before he decided to attend Wake Forest.
At Wake Forest Duncan continued to excel and got the attention of NBA scouts who named him one of the most eligible NBA prospects going into his sophomore year. Unlike the majority of other NBA prospects Duncan said he would not leave school early and indeed played four years for the Demon Deacons. After four years of school, Duncan earned his degree in psychology fulfilling a promise he made to his mother who died of breast cancer when he was only 14.
In 1997 Duncan entered the draft and was selected first overall by the injury plagued Spurs. Duncan started his career playing alongside 1987 first overall pick David Robinson. The paring of Robinson and Duncan gave the Spurs the best frontcourt in the NBA. The pair got San Antonio back on the winning path and helped the team win their first NBA Championship in 1999. The pair then won a second championship together in 2003.
Following the retirement of Robinson, Duncan became the face of the Spurs franchise along with Tony Parker and Manu Ginóbili. The big three would go on to win two more championships and consistently finish near the top of the NBA. In what could be their last Championship push together they got off to a good start beating the Heat in the sweltering AT&T center when the AC went out. However as last year proved the Heat aren’t done until the final buzzer a fact the Duncan and the Spurs haven’t forgot.