I'll let you in on a little secret that isn't really so little. Tim Duncan is my favorite basketball player not just on the San Antonio Spurs, but of all time. I don't try to hide it. What I do try to do is temper my biases and not overlook reason in basketball arguments, especially with the vaunted greatest of all time discussions.
But even still, I have a top-four tier, a Mount Rushmore if you will, that others come close to but don't quite touch. Duncan is in that top four for me, a tier in which any of those guys have valid arguments to realistically be the GOAT on any given day. But this is not a piece on my greatest of all-time list. If that's something people want, please feel free to comment below, I'm happy to write a follow-up. In fact, this piece isn't even a defense of Duncan's GOAT case, although I’m happy to write that up too.
What this piece actually is is a clap back. A clap back against any argument that simplifies the GOAT conversation into boilerplate, cherry-picked stats designed to point you to just one or two players. Narrow-minded assertions that "everything else is wrong" are hurting casual NBA fans by biasing them to the point where they are intolerant of other people's opinions.
So what I plan on doing here is simple. Instead of focusing on Duncan's GOAT case, I'm going to shoot down the most popular and egregious of arguments against him, the mystifying and extremely hypocritical claim that “Tim Duncan had more help.”
Yes, Duncan had some incredible coaches and teammates, but the fact that his critics use this claim as a blanket counter to even the mere possibility that Duncan can be on par with, if not above their favorite players has to end. Not because countering this narrative clearly makes Duncan the GOAT, but because doing so is the first of several steps to shut down closed-mindedness and remind people the NBA GOAT debate is exactly that - a debate and a conversation.
So while this is a Duncan-centric article, I highly encourage other NBA fans out here, please, try this with your favorite player. The same logic here applies to so many other greats.