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  • Bill Chastain

TOYS AND GAMES: Tim Duncan’s Lessons

Tim Duncan’s career, and the way he went out last week, reaffirmed the fact you don’t have to show your underpants to be great.

I’ve debated with friends young and old about my all-time top five NBA team. The bulk of the disagreements come in my insistence on Kareem over Shaq and how Lebron fits in with Bird and Magic. Nobody ever argues whether Duncan belongs in the group.

Nobody disputes that he’s the best power forward to ever play in the league. His selfless style personified the beauty of the game. The points he scored, the chemistry he brought, and the championships he led were derivatives of team basketball, a style that “hero ball” and highlight dunks can’t touch.

Duncan always knew that.

The NBA superstar never sought to become a brand. He simple went about the business of trying to win every night. Most nights he did. Just check the percentages.

Duncan is a shining example for anybody performing any job: Strive for excellence and over deliver.

Was anybody surprised when he announced his retirement after the season rather than orchestrating a season-long farewell tour? Playing the game well — doing his job, was always enough for Duncan. And in the end, he rode into the sunset with his dignity intact.

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©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography