If the Spurs-Heat NBA Finals series can get to Game 7, it will be a Holy War loaded with meaning. It will be the historic stamp forever marking the summer of 2013. It will be a battle in which opposing titans fall down dead together as the final shot soars toward destiny. Aliens in other solar systems are tuning in to a LeBron-Duncan Game 7.
There was a famous national-TV game in 2007, where the angry and terrible NBA referee Joey Crawford made some bad calls on the Spurs. Tim Duncan was sitting on the bench at the time. Duncan said nothing, just started laughing, and Crawford ejected him. As he was walking to the locker room in disbelief, Duncan talked to the sideline reporter. “I said ‘Honestly, Tim, did you say anything?,'” she reported. “‘No,’ he adamantly said, and he had some choice language for Joey Crawford as he left the floor, guys.”
I bring this up so we can see a picture that was taken much later, apparently at a Halloween party. This picture helps demonstrate why Tim Duncan is awesome. He’s a subversive sort, with a slick sense of humor:
That’s Spurs point guard Tony Parker with the eye patch.
In an era of players leaving college early to be drafted into pro hoops, Duncan kept putting off being the No. 1 overall pick to stay four years at Wake Forest studying psychology and Chinese literature. He has a nerd’s nasally voice, is a huge fan of the movie “The Crow,” collects swords and knives, and enjoys playing Dungeons & Dragons. When the Spurs were awarded their championship rings in 2006, Duncan paid teammate Brent Barry $100 to kiss NBA commissioner David Stern on the cheek.
When Duncan was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs it was a perfect match of player and place—a goofy, laid-back dude going to a laid-back city. This goofy, laid-back dude is also, incredibly, “the greatest player of his generation,” Bill Simmons said in a video tribute two weeks ago, “greater than Kobe, greater than Garnett, greater than Shaq, greater than anyone.”
His resume includes two regular-season MVP awards, three NBA Finals MVPs, and four championships. His per-game stats, as noted by Free Darko, match up closely to the first eight numbers (excluding 0) of the elegant Fibonacci Sequence, where each number is the sum of the two before it.
50% (field goals), 1 (steal), 2 (blocks), 3 (assists), 5 (free throws made per game), 8 (field goals made per game), 12 (rebounds), 21 (points).
The consistency, therefore, is mathematical. Duncan’s game is tuned with nature. He’s amazing.
He’s 37. Duncan’s won four championships, but the last was in 2007. His career is almost over, yet here he is again in the Finals. By all informed accounts he is rabidly competitive, so with his career winding down this fifth ring would be enormously significant. You can be certain he wants it badly.
Duncan is the best player of his generation, the generation that came before LeBron James’s. He cannot want to step aside yet. This NBA Finals is an inter-generational collision of meteoric legacies. It’s about the past and the future, drama that has built over years culminating in a matchup with historical significance. This NBA finals is awesome.
Sweet Lord I hope it goes to Game 7.
(The only thing that might be better is if Kobe was in the Finals against LeBron and that went to Game 7, because Kobe would actually play it up. Lakers management denied us that chance, though, when it decided to hire the worst coach in basketball instead of the best. See previous post, Zenmaster’s Revenge.)