When Tim Duncan was in the ACC, watching him was a very strange experience. You’d see him being completely stoic, showing no emotion whatsoever. And you’d look at him and think that he was big and maybe a little slow...then you’d look at the stats and he’d have 25/14.
It was just relentless. The guy just kept coming and hid to an extent because it looked like he just didn't much care.
He did. He just never showed it. Self-control must have been very important to him.
Every so often the mask slipped though, notably when Duke’s Greg Newton made some ill-advised critical comments.
“Whatever,” Duncan said. “He’s an All-American.”
Then he went out and just killed the guy.
Here are some of his best plays with the San Antonio Spurs, the only team he played for in the league. He won two ACC championships at Wake Forest, went to four straight NCAA tournaments and then five NBA titles with the Spurs.
His accomplishments put him in rare company with guys like Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan, players who won multiple titles and who defined an era.
Superficially he was not flashy, maybe even boring. But make no mistake: he stands with the giants of the game.