Michael Jordan was the NBA’s ambassador after Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Isiah Thomas retired.
.But who was heir apparent after His Airness, Michael Jordan?
Most say Kobe Bryant, others say Shaquille O’Neal did in fact take over during his dominant Man of Steel days with the Los Angeles Lakers.
But what about Tim Duncan?
Where does he fit in all of this?
Arguably the best power forward to have played in the NBA, Duncan won five NBA championships, was NBA Finals MVP three times and given the NBA’s regular season MVP award twice.
“Yeah when you start doing all time players and start picking your top five, your top ten or your top fifteen whatever Tim Duncan needs to show up in that conversation,” NBA Hall of Famer Julius Erving told me on Scoop B Radio.
That is high praise to the max from Dr. J.
Some could say that Duncan gripped the baton after MJ’s second and third retirements from the NBA. Yet, his talent is often overlooked because of his quiet demeanor in an era that had larger than life personalities like Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Karl Malone and more.
A 15-time NBA All Star, Duncan stuck with one team and had one head coach in Gregg Popovich during his tenure in the league.
Also worth noting for those keeping score at home: Duncan was also was an All-NBA First Team selection ten times.
Speedy Claxton who a championship with Duncan during his days with the Spurs. He compared what it was like playing with AI and Duncan. “Tim knew that he was going to need teammates in order to win at a high level,” Claxton told Scoop B Radio.
“Whereas A.I. [would say] if these dudes aren’t hitting shots, I’m going to take more shots, because I believe in myself more than these guys. Iverson was so talented that he didn’t really trust in his teammates as much as Tim Duncan did.”