If you ask a casual NBA fan who has the best career, many Hall of Famers (HOF) come to mind. One can argue it would be Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or Bill Russell. When it’s all set and done, it can be Lebron James. However, none of them is even close to the career of the “Big Fundamental” of the San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan.
Tim Duncan: Best NBA career of all time
We’re not looking at individual statistics or the best player because Timmy is not in that conversation. What Timmy has is an almost perfect career any player could ask for and here’s why.
Black and White
Duncan is seen as black and white like the team’s color. That’s why many fans see him as too boring to watch. He has a boring nickname. There’s no drama both on and off of the court with him. On the court he’s quiet, always follows his coach, and only does basic moves. Off the court, he wears casual plain clothes, is private about his life, and only gives few words during interviews. That’s why few fans watch them play because nothing is exciting about him and the team. So when describing Duncan, he’s just a great player, nothing else.
One team, one jersey
Very few players played for the organization that drafted them for their entire career. It doesn’t just prove their loyalty but also the value they bring to the team. Duncan was the #1 pick in the 1997 NBA draft with jersey #21 and played 19 years for the Spurs. The team retired his jersey after his career.
Duncan played in a widely considered strong era of basketball. He played against the prime of some HOF like Shaq, Kobe, Dirk, Nash, Garnett, KD, Kidd, Yao, and many more. Yet, they can’t stop Duncan and the Spurs from winning.
Duncan and his team never missed the playoffs. They’re always in contention to win it all. This shows great management of the organization and how well-rounded the players are and Duncan leads them to this success.
In the six NBA finals that Duncan played in, they won five. The only time they lost was in the 2013 finals against a star-studded Miami Heat but Duncan and the Spurs got their revenge following that year. Duncan won the championship in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014. Winning the finals MVP in 1999, 2003, and 2005.
Despite being known as a team player, Duncan was still able to snag multiple awards. His notable awards are:
- Hall of Fame (2020)
- 15x All-Defensive Team (most in NBA history)
- 2x NBA MVP (2002, 2003)
- 15x NBA All-Star (4th most)
- 15x All NBA Team (tied in 2nd most with Kobe and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)
- 1998 Rookie of the Year
- 3rd in most career blocks (Regular & Playoffs)
- 9th in most career points (Regular & Playoffs)
- 4th in most career rebounds (Regular & Playoffs)
Played on time, retired on time
For his 19 years in NBA, the 6’11 Duncan played around 70 games per season. This proves Duncan’s durability and healthy body kept him safe for that almost 2-decade stretch. Duncan is 6th in most career games played and minutes played. Unlike other players of his size who commonly got leg injuries late in their career, Duncan lose muscles and weight to keep up with the pace of the league. In his final year, he’s still contributing good stats that can push him for another season or two but decided to retire. Unlike other all-time greats whom we saw retire after suffering a career-ending injury.