Call him the "Three Decade Man"?
Tim Duncan is a pretty good basketball player. Consider the most accomplished players in NBA history, and you'll find Tim Duncan among them. League MVPs? Tim has two of those - only seven players have more. Finals MVPs? Only Michael Jordan has more than Tim. All-NBA selections? Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been better in this category. Multiple championships? Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, and Magic Johnson are the only all-time greats to play on more championship teams than Tim Duncan.
But if the Spurs can solidify their claim as the best team in basketball for 2012, Tim Duncan will have achieved something none of the others have.
Bill Russell won his first championship in 1957 and his last in 1969. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won his first in 1971, his last in 1988. Michael Jordan? 1991 and 1998. Kobe Bryant? 2000 and 2010. Magic? 1980 and 1988. Bird's spanned the years 1981 to 1986.
Should the San Antonio Spurs win the 2012 championship, Tim Duncan will be a five-time champion. His first one was won in the 1990s, with the next three coming in the 2000s decade. 2012 falls into the 2010s decade, and this would make Duncan unique among the all-time greats. No one else has won an NBA title in three different decades. What's more, with the way he's playing, he wouldn't back into the feat either. I think, in that scenario, Tim would have a pretty good chance at winning his fourth NBA Finals MVP award - another unique achievement.
This is just another reminder that we Spurs fans have had it pretty good. I remember being awed by George Gervin back when I was a kid, and when David Robinson came along I couldn't imagine another Spur being better at basketball than him. Tim Duncan is a giant in NBA history - for my money the fourth-best player of all time behind Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And comparing Duncan's easy-going coachability to the ego-mania of Jordan and Chamberlain, or the moody aloofness of a Jabbar, Duncan is the easy choice as the one player among them I'd rather start a franchise with.
Here's to you, Timmy! Best of luck for number five!