Enough already, stop praising the ‘perfect’ Duncan

Tim Duncan exemplifies everything the NBA lacks. He hustles, he performs solidly without panache and he never mouths off to officials or the media.

Tim Duncan, as a former MVP and owner of four NBA championship rings, is the anti-superstar. The Question to Iverson’s Answer. The guy who hustles in practice and donates more than necessary to charity.

Tim Duncan is the Eagle Scout of the NBA, the Mother Teresa of basketball. Everyone loves Tim Duncan.

I hate Tim Duncan.

It’s like the Brady Bunch all over again: Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! Timmy, Timmy, Timmy! Enough already.

My hate became clear when Duncan perfectly executed a turnaround lay-in during the first quarter of the All-Star Game. I didn’t care that nobody played defense or cared about winning the game. I loved LeBron “Bron Bron” James and Jason Kidd trying to show off at every opportunity and Yao Ming jacking up hopeless step-back threes. They were having fun, and I was enjoying the basketball equivalent of “trick-shot pool.”

Tim Duncan ruined the party. His methodical workmanlike performance aptly earned him a seat on the bench for much of the All Star Game, and I applaud the Western Conference coaching staff for its decision. Everyone was enjoying basketball without pressure, except Duncan, who just wants to turn in his best performance night-in, night-out.

Tim Duncan needs to take a lesson from the immature kids like Dwight Howard and put on a Superman cape. Or put a cupcake on the rim like Gerald Green. Duncan’s boring style of play perfectly fits the Spurs, who seem to shun the SportsCenter Top Ten countdown. Steve Nash’s Suns play with reckless abandon and don’t value possession. That’s why they’re fun to watch. It might also be why they have never won a championship.

But it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. Every six-year-old basketball player adheres to this principle so he can enjoy the game without preoccupation. Little kids are not troubled with trivial details of the game, like the score. They play for the true pleasures of the game: the half-court shots to snatch victory from defeat, the full-court passes that make someone’s dad scream from the sidelines and the thrill of making fun of the other team after its worst player misses a free throw.

And the Suns don’t worry about the score, either. They play the game the right way.

Tim Duncan plays the wrong way. He plays, as Herm Edwards would say, to win the game. And he succeeds, so good for him. But you can tell that he does not enjoy going to work every day the way LeBron does when he’s stuffing home a reverse jam in Dwight Howard’s face. Or the way Shaq did when he filmed the video making fun of Vlade Divac (to the tune of the song from “Cheers” — find it on youtube). “You said we couldn’t win in your place, guess what? Kobe dunkin’ in yo’ face! You need to go where they know your name!”

Tim Duncan’s quest for success gets in the way of his ability to have fun — and my ability to watch him without dozing off.

I love Allen Iverson’s tantrums when “we talkin’ ’bout practice.” The Association needs players like Latrell Sprewell asking how he is expected to feed his family on his $14.6 million-a-year NBA contract. Because if everyone were like Tim Duncan, there would be no compelling storylines outside of the usual wins and losses that occur on the court. And that’s what generates much of professional basketball’s media coverage. Well, that and the high-flying dunks or Suns games with scores in the 120s. Tim Duncan scares cameras. He could kill the NBA.

He’s a former MVP who has led his team to title after title. So why does he lose lucrative endorsements to less accomplished players? The only product he could sell effectively is sleeping pills. Why doesn’t Tim Duncan star in movies like the mediocre Ricky Davis? Because his game film could be the witch’s poisonous apple that puts Snow White down for the count.

You get it. Tim Duncan isn’t sexy, he isn’t marketable. He is a winner. He is not what the NBA is all about.

Collin Gutman is a sophomore in Pierson College.


  • Ryan

    I couldn't agree with you more. The NBA definitely needs more players who make amazing headlines that like "player X runs into stands to assault fans" or "Player Y gets suspended after refusing to come off the bench." These are the kinds of headlines that help the NBA. They are the ones that reinforce the horrible stereotypes that the NBA is full of thugs because it's a black league. Now I love Steve Nash. I think he's a great player and a great person. But to say you hate Tim Duncan and think he is killing the NBA because he doesn't play with flash just seems ignorant. You have no idea what is inside Tim's head and can make no assessment as to how much fun he has when he plays. Obviously you have never seen him in the NBA finals after a championship and seen how happy he can be. And I don't blame you. If you don't like the Spurs or Duncan than it's fine if you don't want to watch the finals, I usually don't when they aren't in it. Still I couldn't believe that someone would make the claim that Tim Duncan is destroying the league when he is one of the leading philanthropists.

    If you don't like his game… that's fine. But don't belittle a man who has done more for other people than most.

    P.S. As far as the Spurs not being able to generate high lights. Try out looking up some YouTube reels on Ginobili. I personally like this one.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgBe8_GEvbU&feature=related

  • Anonymous

    this was probably one of the worst columns you have ever written (though that's not saying much) and it portrays you as a hypocrite. last semester, you insulted and bashed miami for supposedly supporting and advocating a thug mentality. then you insinuated that this thug attitude led to sean taylor's death (we now see how wrong you were on that one). now you're bashing tim duncan for not seeking attention and controversy and you basically state that you enjoy seeing so-called thugs run the NBA. do you enjoy seeing steroids in baseball just so that you can get your headlines?

    did you actually watch the all-star game? because if you did, then you'd know that tim duncan played 22.5 minutes which is pretty much the average time that all the western all-stars played. and yeah it's funny that dwight howard wore a superman cape and gerald green put a cupcake on the rim, but they don't do that in the regular season. they do it in an event that's meant for spectacle and that's not actually basketball.

    you claim that little kids aren't troubled with the trivial details of the game. you're right. winning or losing doesn't affect them in the long run. in the nba though, players are paid to win championships, which is true of any professional sport. you don't see nfl players throw up the deep ball on every play. a bad night, a long slump, a lengthy losing streak can translate into losing your job. just like any other job, if you can't fulfill your duties, you're out the door. good-bye latrell sprewell. good-bye allen iverson.

    the suns play the game the right way. except replace "the right way" with "by not winning championships."

    and how do you know that tim duncan doesn't enjoy playing the game of basketball? playing a sport day in and day out is a tough job. he could've been an olympic swimmer. just because he doesn't show emotion on the court doesn't mean he's not having fun or he doesn't get frustrated or he isn't excited after a win. i'm sure he's having more fun winning championships than players like dwight howard who are sitting at home watching the finals on tv.

    there's a difference between a compelling and a controversial storyline. we could do without headlines stating that sprewell choked his coach or marbury leaves the team for a game.

    obviously though, collin, you're the type of fan that only wants to watch highlight after highlight. but you're also the same type of fan that led to the decline of talent in the U.S. and the NBA in the late '90s and early '00s. you're the one that wanted the flash over the fundamentals. you're the one that contributed to players learning to jack up threes at every opportunity rather than learning to play sound basketball. prior to the recent surge in offensive play, the US and NBA was filled with horrific shooters and this helped contribute to the USA team being embarrassed in international play. tim duncan isn't going to kill the NBA. it's fans like you that will.

    tim duncan isn't sexy nor is he marketable to fans who have a mindset like yours. but he's the best at what he does. he's the epitome of team and what it takes to win championships. there's a reason why he has 4 titles, 10 all-star game selections, and 2 league mvp trophies. you think that if people thought tim duncan was boring, they would consistently vote him in as a western all-star starter?

    you don't need to like him but tim duncan is exactly what the NBA is all about.

  • kane

    i totally 100% agree with this column. Nothing good can be said about a team that paid off refs to make the wrong call in the playoffs. yea jackass, replace "by not winning championships" with "playing the game honestly and having to deal with ridiculous fouls against a team full of redundant, over-aggresive, boring primadonnas". Tim Duncan is in my opinion the worst player in the NBA. He would be nowhere without his teamates, they literally are the only reason they won. what, do you think they would have won this many games with tim duncans 20 ppg from the paint??? lol!!! if youre going to credit anyone, give it to Ginobili because he plays the game honestly and doesnt try and act like hes the shit.

  • Anonymous

    wow kane, you sound a little bitter. are you a suns or cavs fan?

    and yeah they would have won this many games with duncan's 20 ppg from the point. ginobili hasn't ever ended the season as the spurs' leading scorer and is barely holding on as the leading scorer this year. you make it sound like the spurs could win championships left and right with an offensive juggernaut like ben wallace LOL. i mean, shoot, it's got to be really easy to score in the paint right?

  • Rass Clauth Jr.

    I think Tim Ducan is the worst player, he is the next Jason Collins. This guy has been in the NBA from so many years and yet he can not shoot without using the backboard, what is up with that? ftw!!! He is lazy if you ask me, he doesn't put in work as a good center should, evne Yao Ming does more than he does. How did he ever won an MVP trophy? No one knows, in my opinion Tim Ducan is the worst player ever and the Spurs is a old disfunctional team and should have never won any titles.