Tim Duncan is everyone’s big brother. He’s the guy you look up to, figuratively as well as literally, the guy you want to be, the one who taught you how to build a potato launcher or talk to the girl or guy next door. In the Spurs family, he’s the foundation of your best memories.
We recently asked our readers (sometimes called Pounders, or £ers) to share their top "Timories." Here's what they had to say:
While Tim was at Wake my daughter was participating in our county Special Olympics. One day Tim and a couple other Wake players came out onto the field at Wake where they held the games. I was impressed that they took the time to visit with the kids and sign their shirts for them. I thanked Tim at the time not knowing how that gesture would define his person to me. Later he actually signed a picture of him with my daughter that I had in my office at work. So I was a fan of Timmy from then on. And the fact that my nephew Jeff would have an opportunity to play on the same team with him has been an additional joy. – spurfannc
For me, it was back in college, I saw him mentoring young players, his junior, in a close game. I just looked at the Celtics, who had the highest chance in that draft and declared that it was going to be a Celtics-Lakers rivalry again for the next 15 years. Never seen a more complete college player before. And I saw Kareem humping his way in college, humiliating everyone. – 9inchdude
Enjoyed watching him at Wake Forest.. When he got drafted .. I knew Spurs were heading towards abundant success – Stephen R via Facebook
When he walked on the stage after being drafted and put on a Spurs cap!!!! – Lisa W via Facebook
Years ago, the Spurs had their spring training camp at Schreiner University in Kerrville. Avery Johnson and another player ate supper at a restaurant where my daughter worked. She asked Avery for an autograph. He signed and wrote John 3:16 on a menu for her. She found out later that the young rookie with Avery was Tim Duncan. – Sandra M via Facebook
Very early on his rookie season, when I realized he wasn’t just gonna be good, but he was gonna be GOOD! It’s not every day when you have really high hopes for a player and then you start to realize they’re gonna exceed your wildest dreams. If you had told me back on draft day in 97 that he’d end up one of the greatest to ever play the game and we’d have 5 championships (at least) to by the end of his career not only would I not have believed it, I couldn’t have even comprehended it. His whole entire career has just been one big WOW! – thirtysevenyearfan
I grew up a Jazz fan, and the first real look I got at Timmy was in the Jazz-Spurs second round series in '98, Duncan's rookie year. In game 1, the Jazz jumped out to a big lead in the first half, then the Spurs started feeding Duncan pretty much every single play, and the lead just evaporated. The Jazz ended up winning the game by 1 when Duncan JUST missed a hook shot at the buzzer over Greg Foster, and took the series in 5 in spite of a monster series from Timmy, but I remember thinking "If this guy is this good as a rookie, he's gonna be one of the all time greats." Well, in 2003, I went off to college in San Antonio, the same summer John Stockton retired and Karl Malone joined the Lakers (no way in Hell I'd EVER become a Laker fan). I spent the '03-'04 season growing to love San Antonio and the Spurs. I became an honest-to-God Spurs fan just in time for Fisher's 0.4 shot, LOL. I was convinced that I was cursed as a fan, and any team I rooted for was destined for heartbreak. This sinking feeling returned the next year, when Detroit won game 6 of the Finals and went ahead in the third quarter of game 7. So when Timmy led the Spurs back to take the title, in very similar fashion to what he'd done as a rookie against the Jazz, that gave me a joy as a fan that no other sports memory, even the '14 title, has quite matched. – James G via Facebook
I can’t remember which of the two games it was in Portland, 1999 WCF, but the supposedly un-athletic Timmy caught the ball in transition, took off from about eight to ten feet away from the hoop, while being fouled, and dunked with his left hand. - SRJ34
Holding the championship trophy with David. Unforgettable! – James B via Facebook
When he told Orlando, "No". We wouldn't be posting these remarks here today otherwise. – Rene G via Facebook
The one when he chose to become a SPUR for life rather than jump ship during his first free agency period. It is immeasurable how that decision helped transform SA to what it is today. Thanks Tim – Edgar L via Facebook
2003 when he went right at Shaq and knocked out the 3 time champs. That's the most dominance I've seen from him - Jay A via Facebook
2003 NBA Finals, Game 6 vs Nets. Duncan almost gets a quadruple double to win his 2nd title in David Robinson's final game. Duncan at the peak of his powers. – Richard B via Facebook
21, 20, 10, and 8. You all know what I’m talking about. - SRJ34
Hitting a would-be game winner over Shaq in game 5, 2004 WCSF. Shaq was all over him, and Duncan’s reaction to making that shot put Kawhi Leonard’s famous stoicism to shame. - SRJ34
I always laugh at his post game interview in 2005 talking about Big Shot Bob before RH walks in the room. - Spurs10
Game 6 against Seattle in 2005 when Duncan got hurt, but then he played through it and ending up getting the game-winning layup to win the series. And then two series later after Big Shot Rob hit the 3-pointer in Detroit, Duncan went over to give Horry a hug. I’ll always remember that. – Marky G
- Standing alone atop the podium, raising the championship and Finals MVP trophy over his head, after ousting the defending champs in game seven. Tim had injured his ankle in Detroit about two months earlier, then, during the playoffs, injured the good ankle in Seattle. One could feel the sense of relief pouring off of Tim as he basked in the aftermath of title #3. This was the first time the defending champs lost in the Finals since 1989. - SRJ34
Duncan being given 2 technical fouls for laughing is the most Tim Duncan thing to ever happen. I love the way he laughs and claps his hands at the ridiculous calls by Crawford. Timmy is so deadpan in front of most media outlets, but I imagine he’s the biggest joker around his teammates sometimes.
Solidified my dislike for that ref, plus Crawford was suspended for the rest of the season… - Ama417
For me it has to be Tim’s three at the end of the 1st OT to tie Phoenix in Game 1, 2008, but not just because it was one of his more unexpected plays; it’s the story that goes with it.
It was the same afternoon as the spring football game at Texas A&M. My twin sister and I were planning on leaving early so we could beat the crowd, but we just couldn’t be torn away as that game kept going…and going and going. It always felt like we were playing from behind, so when Tim hit that three to send it into 2OT, we yelled "TIM DUNCAN!!!!" and jumped up and down.
When the game finally ended, we knew we were running late and would have some traffic to fight, but we didn’t care because we were so excited. In the gridlocked traffic on the way to Kyle Field, another guy next to us honked and yelled "Go Spurs!", so we joined in. He yelled "can you believe it?!" and we responded "I know!!!" Fun times!
The other thing that makes this such a fond memory is this is the last big Spurs memory I have with my twin sister. She unexpectedly passed away five months later on the same day that the Spurs lost the season openner (to the suns, ironically) for the one and only time under Tim and Pop. I’d say that was no coincidence.
The three versus Phoenix in 2008. The remarkable part wasn’t that he made the three; the remarkable part was that when Manu drove the ball and found Tim, I felt good. Not that I knew Tim was definitely going to make the shot, but that he is trustworthy to that extent. How many other low-block masters would ever inspire confidence from the three point line? If Shaq or Kevin McHale ever caught the ball out there, wouldn’t you cringe if they shot the ball, even if they had to? - SRJ34
If he misses that shot, the world would have changed. – toppusdoggus
The first half of game 6 in the 2013 finals. Timmy had 25 points and was practically unstoppable on the low block. When Bosh guarded him he just annihilated him with his methodical post game, that was just fantastic. That is why I felt so sorry for him at the end. We win that game, he would have been the Finals MVP no doubt. – Black_and_Silver89
Game 7 2013. When he slapped the floor after mistiming the putback that would have tied the game with a minute to go, and then later, taking full responsibility for the team’s loss in the press conference. Total commitment, total class. The most unforgettable athlete of my lifetime. – cocanat
He had a dunk in Game 4 of last years Finals and that was it for me. The play went Leonard to Diaw to Duncan. After slamming it down, Tim did an uncharacteristic but very fundamentally sound fist pump and it just made me so happy. That dunk gave them a 21 point lead and he knew the series was over right there. No unreal comeback, no miracle shot, no missed free throws, turnovers, would stand in his way. He showed raw emotion that symbolized the journey. How he went from slamming his hands on the floor in disgust the previous year to celebrating on the same court was beautiful for me to watch. The team had exorcised their demons and that fist pump symbolized it for me. Love you Big Fun. You’re my idol. – AfroDuncan
"We’ve got four more to win. We’ll do it this time." This was the first time the defending champs lost in the Finals since 2005. – SRJ34
I really loved the post game presser after the ’14 championship. Him and his kids on his lap. There was so much back story to that moment, from his divorce to the horrible post game presser a year earlier. A beautiful moment of joy and fatherhood that sticks with me. - Quincyscott
Maybe it’s recency bias at work, maybe it’s some strange masochism because of what happened a few seconds later, but I’m going with the (almost, alas) end of game 7 vs. the Clippers, where Tim stepped up and nailed both free throws to tie the game.
It just made me remember a few years back when Tim at the free throw line at a big moment just did not give me confidence, but here, just a few years down the road, under the most excruciating pressure there can be in sports, I just knew he’d do it, and he did. It was like he’d identified a correctable flaw in his game, so he corrected it – how Duncan of him…
With Duncan, it’s not the spectacular plays. It’s not that he’s the biggest, or the fastest, or has the quickest release, or the deepest range. It’s the fact that he just continues, possession after possession, game after game, year after year, to do the things that win basketball games. And he does them over and over, and then over again. He plays within himself, and within whatever bounds help the team the most, and continues to improve the things that can be improved, and stave off the things that will inevitably not be staved off. They say Father Time and gravity are undefeated, but Tim’s made his peace with gravity long ago, and he’s holding his own with Father Time. And someday (hopefully not too soon), when that inexorable reality occurs and Father Time triumphs, Duncan can look back and say he fought the good fight, he left nothing undone that he could have done, and there won’t be any "coulda, shouldas". That’s something all of us, whatever our walk in life can aspire to. And I think that’s what I love most about Tim Duncan. – Pflash
It isn’t one memory, but rather an image. Timmeh having the smaller Tony or Manu in his chest hugging them. Obviously made all the more easy with him being so tall, but I’ve always found it sums up the Big Fun well. Holding onto the smaller guys, being there for them and caring about them is exactly the kind of guy he is. It symbolizes something I think we all look for: a big guy looking out and taking care of us.
One more Tim! Please!! – northernspursie
You know that one person at the party who dictates how long the party lasts? He or she might not necessarily be the host, but that person ensures the festivities go on for as long as they're in attendance, and the party is sure to die the moment he or she leaves. Until Timmy finally does decide to walk away, the memories will keep piling up. The day he's gone, what's certain to be the proudest era in Spurs history will likely end. For the Spurs, the life of the party may just be the most humble man in the room.