Sure, you can time his patented turnaround jump shot with a calender. You can call him and the San Antonio Spurs boring. One thing you most definitely can call him is dominant. Tim Duncan has gone his entire career with the kind of silence that speaks volumes. He is often overlooked because he lacks the style and pizzazz of his league counterparts. The Big Fundamental, the guy no one seems to talk about until June, is quietly the most dominant player in the game since the retirement of his Royal Airness Michael Jordan.
In an era dominated by the soundbite and the highlight reel it's easy to see how a guy like Tim Duncan can be overlooked. He doesn't have the on-court antics of a Rasheed Wallace. He doesn't have the off-court issues that have plagued high profile athletes like Kobe Bryant and Shaq. He doesn't have the flashy dunks that have popularized Vince Carter. Much like Liam Neeson in Taken, Tim Duncan does have a certain set of skills that make him incredibly dangerous (on the basketball court).
He's the only player in NBA history to be named to the All-NBA team and the All-Defense team in each of his first 12 seasons. He's been named to both of those teams every single season of his pro-career. He's a two-time MVP, he's a four-time champion and three-time Finals MVP. If that wasn't enough he's also a 13-time All-Star.
He was a 20-10 player for nine of his first ten seasons, and his career average puts him as at the mark. Despite the reputation of Gregg Popovich of resting his players Duncan has only averaged below 30 minutes twice in his 15 year career. The fewest games he's ever played in was 50 in the strike-shortened 1998-1999 season.
In June, where is it that Duncan makes his money? He's two points better, and a rebound better than his regular season career. He's only averaged fewer than 17 points once in his postseason career, and under nine rebounds once. At age 37, he's at 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Tim Duncan has been as consistent and steady as his nickname makes him sound. His game isn't built on the power of Shaquille O'Neal, which faded with old-age. It isn't prolific like LeBron James. It isn't built for today's pop culture, and maybe that's just why he's been so dominant. Instead of relying on raw physical ability, he is a self-made basketball player. The 15-foot bank-shot may be a summer away from fading away from the NBA for good. You might not know it now, but next year should he walk away, you'll be missing Tim Duncan.