1. Tim Duncan (1997-2016)
I always struggle even knowing where to start when bringing up Tim Duncan's excellence. Should I start with his consistency? Maybe focus on his defensive greatness? What about his fundamentals? The fact that he made the playoffs in all 19 of his seasons in the NBA is certainly worth a mention too. As are the 17 straight seasons leading the Spurs to 50+ wins.
There's so much to discuss about Tim on the court to even get close to covering it all, so I'm not even going to try. I'll get into the statistics more later on anyway. What made Duncan such a perfect fit for San Antonio was -- you guessed it -- his character. Starting to sense a theme yet?
You'd be hard-pressed to find a superstar who handled so much success with as much humility as Duncan did, and he did it for almost 20 years.
People who've only recently become Spurs fans tend to wonder how I could be so upbeat and positive about the Spurs given recent rebuilding struggles. To me, it's pretty simple.
The organization was exceptionally blessed when the duo of Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan was formed, and that pairing has led to five championship celebrations, a community unlike any other, and an organization that became the golden standard for everyone. Personally, Duncan's presence in San Antonio ultimately led to stronger bonds with family and friends, something to look forward to in tough times, and a lifelong role model.
In the grand scheme of things, a few losing seasons is nothing for someone who was fortunate enough to be a Spurs fan throughout the Tim Duncan era.
As for Tim's franchise accomplishments, well, be prepared to scroll.
- 1st in games and minutes played
- 1st in field goals
- 2nd in free throws
- 1st in total rebounds
- 3rd in total assists
- 6th in total steals
- 1st in total blocks
- 1st in total points
- 5th in triple-doubles
- 1st in win shares
Highlight: Tim Duncan records what should have been registered as the only NBA Finals quadruple-double in history in a series-clinching Game 6 in 2003. His official statistics say 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, and eight blocks, but video evidence suggests he actually had 10 blocks.
I don't think it's an exaggeration to say Tim Duncan's Hall of Fame career impacted millions of people in some way or another, and no one is ever even going to come close to taking his spot as the greatest Spur of all time.