Contemporary Black History - Tim Duncan
April 25, 1976 - Present
The time when there is no one there to feel sorry for you or to cheer for you is when a player is made. ~ Tim Duncan
Considered to be one of the best power forwards in NBA history, Timothy Theodore Duncan was born on April 25, 1976, on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He is youngest child of William, a mason, and Ione, a midwife, Duncan. Tim devoted his early athletic years to swimming, a sport in which he became the top U.S. competitor in his age group in the 400-meter freestyle. However, Duncan’s life changed dramatically following Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The hurricane destroyed his team’s pool, and his mother died shortly thereafter, one day prior to Tim’s 14th birthday. Duncan lost his enthusiasm for the sport and quit swimming.
During his freshman year of high school, Duncan began playing basketball. By his senior year, he had grown nine inches and improved his game significantly. Colleges started scouting him. Duncan was recruited by Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he became one of the Demon Deacons' best players while earning a degree in psychology. Upon her deathbed Duncan’s mother asked her children to promise to attend college and earn degrees. In the 1997 NBA draft, the San Antonio Spurs selected Duncan with the team's first overall pick. He's gone on to lead the team to five championships.
Duncan has played his entire career for the Spurs. He is a two-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA Finals MVP, and NBA Rookie of the Year. He is also a 15-time NBA All-Star and the only player ever to be selected to both the All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams in every one of his first 13 seasons. While his game and personality aren't as splashy as some of his rivals, most notably Shaquille O'Neal, the power forward has earned the respect of coaches and players throughout the NBA.
Off the court, Duncan is known for his quiet and unassuming ways, as well as his active philanthropy. He created the Tim Duncan Foundation to raise general health awareness and fund education and youth sports in various parts of the United States.