At the time, I believed Duncan did less and played less so that Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker could shine more.
There is reason to believe this thinking. Because throughout his career, Duncan has always been steady and delivers when the situation needs it.
However, after being defeated by the Memphis Grizzlies in this year’s first round playoffs. There is a different feeling, the Spurs clearly needs more help and Duncan is never the same.
Nonetheless, he already done a lot for the only NBA franchise he had played for — the San Antonio Spurs.
When he came into the league, he helped change the destiny of the Spurs.
From perennial playoff contenders to perennial title contenders.
Blessed with great fundamentals, exceptional footwork and uncanny ability to get out of a double team, Duncan has led the Spurs to four championships in 14 NBA seasons, the latest in 2007.
During that span, he was named season MVP twice, Finals MVP three times and is a 13-time All-Star.
More than anything, Duncan separates himself from the rest because of his selfless play, unselfish attitude and will be most remembered by winning.
Duncan is a breed of his own kind.
How many NBA superstars have the same accomplishment that Duncan has, and yet is humble enough to admit mistakes, or listen to teammates and coaches?
He carries himself with class on and off the court and has a great relationship with coaches and players around the league.
In his entire career, there were no trade demands, no salary or playing time issues. In fact, there was a time that he even took a paycut just to keep the Spurs competitive. What more can you ask for?
His calm and quiet demeanor makes him stand out and is one of the reasons why he is embraced and is highly is respected by his peers.
He is not only a great player but he is also a great role model, he quietly helps in the community in ways he can, but never flaunts it.
Sadly, most people craves for highlight reels and explosive dunks rather than substance.
That could be the main reason why Duncan has never get the proper attention or love he truly deserves.
This year, age and injuries has caught up with him, and the series against the Grizzlies validated it.
Next season, Duncan will be on the final year of his contract. Whether he chooses to stay or call it quits is all up to him.
He was and still remains the foundation of the Spurs franchise. He kept the Spurs as a model of consistency for so long.
If San Antonio hopes to have another legitimate shot at another title before he retires, they will need more help.
Whatever happens next season, Duncan has nothing left to prove.
He will go down as the best power forward to ever play the game and the greatest big man in his generation.
I wish that he could go out on top and win it all again because he deserves it.
Nevertheless, if it never happens, nothing will change the way I looked at him as a player and a person.
While a lot of people has neglected or underappreciated what he has done for the league, this I’m sure.
The NBA will never be the same when he finally leaves. Maybe by then, people will truly appreciate how great he really was.