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21 SHADES OF GRAY
CHRIS BALLARD
May 21, 2012
TIM DUNCAN is the most successful player of his generation, maybe even its best, the foundation of yet another Spurs team built to win it all. So why haven't you fallen for him? The reasons aren't all black-and-white
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May 21, 2012

21 Shades Of Gray

TIM DUNCAN is the most successful player of his generation, maybe even its best, the foundation of yet another Spurs team built to win it all. So why haven't you fallen for him? The reasons aren't all black-and-white

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3 No Second Act

This is problematic because who doesn't love a narrative about redemption and vindication? But Duncan? To recap: Tall, talented young man succeeds for four years in college, goes to NBA, succeeds immediately, then continues to do so for the next 15 years. Here are the numbers.

13: Consecutive seasons to begin his career in which Duncan was named All-NBA and All-Defensive team, six more than anyone else in league history.

.702: The Spurs' winning percentage during the Duncan era, the best 15-year run by any NBA team in history.

0: Number of teams in the four major pro sports with a better winning percentage over the last 15 years than the Spurs.

4 DNP—OLD

It happens almost every game now, including in these playoffs, during which the top-seeded Spurs blew through the first round in four games against the Jazz: Some opposing big man throws his weight into Duncan's 36-year-old back, digs out position and then asks the question, How many more years ya got in ya?

Each night, Duncan says the same thing: "I got at least one more game."

It's worse when the young guys guard him. "Hey, I grew up watching you," they'll say, and Duncan will try to ignore the implication. He understands how this works. "Your mortality as a player is not known," he says. "You don't see the end coming."

Even his coach gets into the act. Earlier this season, when Gregg Popovich held Duncan out of a game, he gave the reason as DNP—OLD.

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