Boylan: Duncan’s First and Fifth Titles Bookend His Astonishing Career
There’s only so much a player can do in one career. Only so much can be accomplished before the window closes and a career becomes history. Rarely, if ever, can an athlete reach every goal he sets and overcome every obstacle he faces. Nobody is perfect. No career is flawless.
Tim Duncan is pretty damn close.
By now, you’ve heard the most recent additions to Timmy’s already overflowing résumé. He got that fifth ring, he passed Magic Johnson for most postseason double-doubles and he passed Magic’s teammate, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, for most playoff minutes played.
In 17 seasons, Duncan has racked up 148 playoff victories, thanks to deep run after deeper run. His Spurs have been in the playoffs every year since he was drafted, and turned a ridiculous nine conference finals appearances into six trips to the NBA Finals. I watched Timmy play June basketball when I was 9, 13, 15, 17, 23 and 24 years old. I have family I don’t see that often.
Still, there is one slept-on Duncan fact that I just can’t get over–1999 and 2014. Fifteen years between titles. Timmy kept coming back. The calendar was not keeping him from this. In the history of professional basketball, only Kareem has also won championships 15 or more years apart.
Do you realize how long 15 years is? Take a second, think back and try to remember what you were up to in 1999. I’ll help you. Allow me to turn back the clocks and remind you what life was like in,as Kanye calls it, the One-Nine-Nine-Nine.
HBO went out on a limb and debuted a new television show called “The Sopranos.”
A gallon of gas went from costing less than a buck to a cool $1.30, and people were pissed.
Kawhi Leonard was in second grade (multiplication tables blew his mind, never mind guarding LeBron James).
Apple put out a line of laptops called the iBook G3 Clamshell that looked like the Pacific Ocean meets wireless networking. They were available in five bad-ass colors from blueberry to key lime.
Napster was born, and suddenly all music was free.
Speaking of music, Smash Mouth changed the game with their single “All Star.” Again, shout-out to Napster, because everyone got to listen for free.
LeBron James was a 15-year-old who couldn’t wait to get his Learner’s permit.
Will Smith was not only starring in a western, but he wrote a rap to go with it! Big Will could do no wrong a decade and a half before After Earth.
Kurt Warner was the NFL MVP, but John Elway was MVP of the Super Bowl. In other words, Kurt Warner and John Elway were playing professional football.
The Wachowski Brothers dropped The Matrix and people freaked out. It was probably because they could see it in a theater for five dollars.
Tim Duncan won an NBA championship. Some things never change.
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