The penultimate Hall of Fame spot is granted to one of the greatest NBA powerhouses of the 21st century, his name synonymous with the San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan. He wore his now-iconic No. 21 on the black, white and silver jerseys of the Texas franchise that ruled the NBA in the 2000s.
“The Big Fundamental” holds countless accolades including, but not limited to: being a 15-time NBA All-Star, a five-time championship winner (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014), the 2000 All-Star Game MVP, three-time Finals MVP winner and the recipient of the 1998 Rookie of the Year award.
He is on top of virtually every major leaderboard with the Spurs, considering he played his entire 19-year career with them. Duncan is still the all-time team leader in games (1,392) and minutes (47,368) played, points (26,496), field goals (10,285) and total rebounds (15,091), to name a few.
I still have a soft spot for the humble and stoic Duncan. Even though I’ve never considered basketball as one of my favorite sports, I felt extremely proud to wear his jersey as a kid even though I had no real interest in the Spurs or the sport of basketball in general. I saw him on SportsCenter a few times and, for whatever reason, chose to support him.
His retirement in 2016, though expected, still hurt me and millions of NBA fans who watched him play for nearly two decades. Sure, the Spurs may currently have the talented DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, but Duncan was consistently on another level.