When I attended Jeff Davis Middle School (1997-1999) on the eastside of San Antonio, I remember skipping lunch and sneaking into my History teacher’s classroom to stream highlights of my favorite players. I cannot believe the patience I exhibited back then when you had to wait 10 minutes for a 45 second highlight clip on dial up internet. A year before I entered middle school Allen Iverson
, Ray Allen
, Stephon Marbury
, and Kobe Bryant
had been drafted in 1996. That was also the year that almost damaged me as a Spurs child permanently when we finished the season 20-62. A bad record and no flashy stars can be impressionable on young athlete going into middle school. These were the days when you stuck your tongue out like Michael Jordan when making a drive to the goal.
David Robinson was the man in San Antonio but my friends and I referred to him as the "NET BURNER." He earned that name by being the only N.B.A player in history who could slam dunk the ball without nothing but net like a Reggie Miller three pointer. I mean just as he would rise above smaller foes, his muscles which I admired as a youngster would flare and rip like Randy Savage to result in a very humbling nothing but net slam dunk. That embarrassed me as a kid being raised as a Spurs child because I always thought he was strong enough to break the glass with all those muscles.
In 1997 I entered middle school and Tim Duncan
entered the N.B.A. I was looking forward to who the Spurs would draft so I could emulate him just as I did Iverson the following year. My knowledge of scouting, potential prospects, and necessities of a team was unknown to my premature understanding of how a team selects a player in the draft. My formula was whoever could produce the most highlights should be drafted by the San Antonio Spurs
. Till this day many teams have borrowed my formula and have been unsuccessful. I did not watch the draft, all I wanted to know was who the Spurs drafted so I could skip lunch and search for his highlights the next day. When I first heard we drafted Tim Duncan, I was like, "Tim who?" Back then I could not find any highlight clips on this cat. The only thing I found was a picture of this tall goofy, friendly kid with world peace symbols stitched in his wrist bands that he wore around his knees, NO JOKE! Honestly, can someone please find this picture for me, because I cannot find it anywhere?
So I told myself, "I’ll just wait until the season, I’m sure I’ll catch him on the top ten highlights of the week on ESPN!" As we experience this now as die hard Spurs fans, we have accepted that the media does not buy into quality displayed basketball. This almost damaged my whole insight on how basketball was supposed to be played as child learning the game. To make matters worse, next year the 1998 draft included flashy stars like Mike Bibby
, Vince Carter
, Antwan Jamison, Paul Pierce
, Larry Hughes
, and my two favorites out the draft Rafer Alston
aka Skip 2 My Lou and Jason Williams
aka White Chocolate. These were the rookies I aspired to be not Tim Duncan. I do not remember acting out the last seconds of a game at the park, counting down the last seconds of the shot clock wining the game with a bank shot of the backboard. No, I was doing the Allen Iverson crossover with three seconds left, shooting a Kobe fader with no time left hitting the game winner hoping to star in the highlight play of the day.
It wasn’t until I became about seventeen or eighteen when I finally began to accept Tim Duncan as my favorite basketball player. I remember my peers during middle school favored many other stars over Tim Duncan growing up, I wonder if other people experienced this same situation growing up watching Timmy.