Monday, 2 June 2014
TIM DUNCAN Feature-DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF EPIC FEATS?
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
2019, years from now scientists of this sport will have a problem. A fundamental one! How do they come up with another player like this? Especially in the extinct age of dying big men. Where the central core position of this game ends with the good and bad sides of the likes of Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum and now Roy Hibbert for better or worse. Sure the future is blazing with Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, but to reboot and make another player like the robot Tim Duncan is impossible in even this day and digital age. The basketball prototype and Power Forward's paint-work and artistic impression of player perfection is still running on crude oil and pistons you couldn't even work in the bad boy 80's days of Detroit, two years shy of 40. Still on the top of his game. Still a statistical outstanding output of 20 and 10 on his best cycle. This guy must be running on a computer, because he's a video games dream. Technology can't match the T-Bot's run-time. Nothing on this assembly line can. They could try and build an exoskeleton in his 6 foot 11, 250 pound likeness but they couldn't duplicate the big body that has been banging around under the boards with the rest of the broads for 17 plus years in this National Basketball Association. They could put hydraulics in this carbon copys arm and work out the right strength and firing mechanism to have it duplicate that money in the statistical savings account bank shot, but they still couldn't bank on this machine that doesnt need water or rest being a better glass cleaner than Duncan. They could brand a 21 on his back, even give it some pesonality but leave a smile off its face, and they still couldn't come up with another Timmy. All the tinkering of nuts and bolts and rewiring would just result in another imitation. This man is more than just an influential impression. Tim Duncan is the blueprint of baskeball.
Number 21 looks up to box-score on the jumbotron again. Seconds wind down. 3.00, 2.00, 1.00, to nothing but red illuminating light and ticker tape. The score remains 112-107 and the San Antonio Spurs remain in this game as the Oklahoma City Thunder yet again fail to make the NBA Finals and the trophy demands of Larry O'Brien that everyone thought would finally be rightfully theres. For now it doesn't matter that Kevin Durant is the leagues Most Valuable Player and the best one in this league not called LeBron James. For now the energy of Russell Westbrook means nothing. Neither does how well Serge Ibaka has been playing. It doesn't even matter that the retiring Derek Fisher was one of the best playoff clutch shooters of all-time, who often killed teams like the San Antonio Spurs in less than half a second. Tim Duncan isn't even looking at any of them after the hugs and handshakes. Especially now 0.4 has passed. Now this shots in the bank the score doesnt even matter when there's a bigger one to settle. Number 21 looks above the jumbotron and all the space where ballons and tape would fall and holds off the celebrations. He looks to where his number 21 jersey will eventually hang next to his old friend number 50 and all those banners he brought with his mentor and tower tandem partner David Robinson. The admiral who has left port for quite some time but can still be found starboard, courtside in allegiance attendance. He looks at the empty space next to the four championship curtains of credit. There's room for one more. At this point it really would mean so much more. It's time. When every critic inked their end and aged demise like a tattoo, Duncan and his forever clicking Spurs showed they where permanently here to stay. With Pop, Manu, Tony, the real big three that lasts beyond that many seasons there is so much more on the roster. The real team from Matt Bonner to Boris Diaw, Kawhi Leonard to Tiago Splitter, Danny Green to Corey Joesph...and the one they call Tim.
Now one man and his own big-three stands in his way...again. As the king looks to take his throne once again, LeBron James and his Miami Heat of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, the big threes of Ray Allen, the smaller lookalike and playalike of Tim Duncan, Shane Battier and so much more look to three-peat like the Duncan Spurs-who have been in contention since 1999-have never been able to do despite all the back-to-backs. Still despite all those saying this is now LeBron's league and predicting that the scorching Heat will comb through the state of Texas with a sweep, Tim and his San Antonio stars want to make Miami another team unable to turn a big three into three O'Briens in a row like Phil Jackson's Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. It seems all you need for this is a Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or even a bigger Shaquille O'Neal but LeBron and Duncan are here right now to prove when it comes to league legacy right now it's their legend. The kid, the man, versus the veteran, the godfather...not the old man but the giant. David and Goliath all over again. The rematch is set, but it's not what it seems. Some may think it'll all be over in a week, but they may just want to count to seven. Sure 'Bron and his boys have never looked hotter...and Timmy and his old bucks have never been older...but they've never looked as fresher either. Even with all the flash of Wade, James and all Heat's blade runners, you can't deny the android that is Duncan and all the playbook productions that play out like clockwork. Like counting sheep over and over the hill again. Don't fall asleep, you may even lose some when it comes to this dream team. Some may not spell fundamentals with 'fun', but this team really is for the poetic purists of this game, league and essence of true teamwork. Call them boring and they'll show you their boardwork. Sleep on them now and they'll wake up the history books for your bed time reading. Besides isn't it getting a little boring that the Heat are always winning? Put that to rest. How about something new, old, or at least borrowed? Just don't call it a comeback.
They really have been here for years. Like Duncan who came into this league in 1997 ready. Ready as more than just a Rookie Of The Year, but one of the best players in the league then and until now...period. He's a 4 time champ. 3 time MVP in the Finals. To go with two more in the regular season. That not enough for you? He's a 14 time All-Star and has an MVP for one of those too. He's been named to 10 NBA All-First teams and when that hasn't happened he's been a part of three second ones and one third. Now sprinkle 8 more first team defensive ones, with 6 second ones, no third but an all rookie team credit in his R.O.Y. debut year. The recepie for the only player ever to be named to both all-NBA and all-defensive first teams in all of his first 13 seasons in the L. Unlucky for some. Add some All-Star fun of a Shooting Stars Champion award to his fundamentals to go along with a USA Basketball Male Athlete Of The Year Award and you have a guy that even goes back to the Consensus National Player Of The Year in 1997. To go along with 2 consensus All-American first team honours and 3 NABC Defensive Player of the Year awards, 2 ACC Player of the Year awards and his number 21 already retired at Wake Forest college. Now what does that all add up to, apart from a red carpet down the classic trophy cabinet corridors to the Hall of Fame? A whole lot of breath and talk ran out of if you ask this writer and take his career averages of 19.9 points and 11.1 rebounds per and you have the San Antonio Spurs all-time leading scorer too. Sure here's to you Mr. Robinson, who may have been the admiral and the iceman George Gervin, but it seems that Tim Duncan is simply the man. Although people say he played like a machine, he's still running to this day on all mettle and no metal. Pick who you want for your NBA Mount Rushmore and all-time starting five. Of course Jordan will be in there with Magic on point next to him in the backcourt and at the three you can't leave out the threes of double 3 Larry Bird. As for your centre you could pick the most dominant of Shaq, the defence of Bill Russell and even the hook of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but I could give you 100 reasons to pick Wilt Chamberlain. Still, with all that said and done when it comes to your Power Forward nothing compares and nobody comes close to Tim Duncan. He's not the easy, today choice and even in this decade gone age of the four position taking pressure and presence off the five it's still all 21. Not even the deliveries of the mailman Karl Malone (they'll just get returned to sender) could be posted higher. Nothing but Tim. So tell me if one of the greatest players in all time history of this sport is still playing and strong how could you possibly bet against him when it comes to what could be his finals chapter? Even in the face of the king this man is not going to miss his royal appointment with gold. Anything else just does not compute.
"We'll do it this time..."-Tim Duncan