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05-10-2002, 05:08 PM #1
Spurs MVP a class act, not crass act
Just read this article from my local newspaper regarding our MVP Tim Duncan. Tis the (post)season so I thought I would share it.
Tim Duncan is a soft bank shot in a league of rim-rattling dunks. He is a quiet double-double in a game of chest-beating stars.
He is blue jeans and red T-shirts in a sport of gold chains and diamonds.
He is humble.
He is dignified.
He is the league MVP, and he doesn't know what to say.
So he says "thank you," and moves on.
Some guys wonder why it's necessary to attend practice, and lace their wonderment with four-letter words.
Duncan only wonders why anybody cares about him.
Duncan is not the kind many people celebrate. He doesn't swear at referees. Doesn't flip fans the finger. Doesn't swing at opponents. Heck, he doesn't even have a criminal record.
Duncan might say, yes, he knows someone like that. His father. The late William Duncan. The man who meant the world to him.
He might have played one for the ages when he led San Antonio to a Game 5 victory over Seattle four days after his father died. He might have carried the Spurs when they shocked the Lakers on Tuesday in Game 2.
But he doesn't feel like anything super — even if the rest of the league recognizes him as such. He is the first French vanilla MVP since David Robinson.
"We've had two MVPs in the last 10 years and both are class acts," says Spurs chairman Peter Holt. "That's unusual."
The MVP is not an award about class or good citizenship. It's about performance and value, and no one — not Jason Kidd, not Shaquille O'Neal — was more valuable to his team than Duncan.
"If you take Duncan out of the lineup," says former Spur Sean Elliott, "I don't know if they beat the Utah Jazz, the No. 8 seed."
Take Duncan out of San Antonio and the Spurs are a disaster. They are 20 to 30 points worse than the Sonics.
But with him?
The Spurs should be up 2-0 on the Lakers, and who would have imagined that?
"You need one or two great players, most people think two or three, to win a title," Elliott says. "You need people who can take over a game. Right now, the Spurs have one guy."
The Spurs' one guy is 25 quiet points a night. He is a silent rebounder, an efficient passer, an unspectacular shot-blocker.
He is Jason Kidd without the flair, Shaq without the flamboyance, a star and a giant bereft of glitter and ego.
NBA commissioner David Stern presented the MVP trophy to Duncan on Thursday. Stern noted how Duncan has won every award in his sport. How Duncan ranks among the all-time elite.
Besides Duncan, only Elgin Baylor, Larry Bird, George Mikan, Bob Pettit and Oscar Robertson have made first-team All-NBA their first five seasons.
When handed the hardware, Duncan said, "It's unbelievable. In my wildest dreams I never thought I'd get this far."
The Spurs might have Hurricane Hugo to thank for that. Duncan was a star swimmer until that storm blew through the Virgin Islands in 1989, Hugo destroyed the local pool and Duncan turned to basketball.
William Duncan was there when his son graduated from Wake Forest. William was there when Tim got drafted, when Tim played in his first All-Star Game, when Tim and the Spurs won the NBA championship in 1999.
Then William was gone.
Tim acts as if he's still here.
Maybe he is, watching.
Only 57 votes separated Duncan from the MVP runner-up. Only 57 votes and one finger.
The runner-up left the court in March and pointed his middle digit to a fan.
The winner left the court after beating Seattle and raised an index finger to heaven.
Now, go whoop the lakers and bring home another title!
05-10-2002, 11:12 PM #2
Even though I don't follow basketball, it was nice to read something positive about a professional athlete for a change.
05-11-2002, 01:29 PM #3
I tell ya what there was a million ways that article could have been written but that writer deserves a promotion
Even though I'm from Utah where "my" team was 8th seeded and lost, go Spurs