Seven years ago, ESPN debuted a documentary that was met by a level of excitement within me that hadn’t been witnessed before.
It was based on a story in which I had a lot of familiarity. It was based on a story that I’d had the privilege of discussing with many who played intricate roles in the outcome. It was a story that found itself at the forefront every March. And it is a story that always tugged at the heartstrings of graduates of my alma mater.
It was the story of the North Carolina State University 1983 Men’s Basketball Team. And their destiny that culminated with them doing what others thought was impossible to capture a national championship that is still talked about decades later.
Before then, my level of excitement about a documentary hadn’t been matched. Since then, it hadn’t been matched.
I went to bed early Wednesday night and I wish I had not. I mean I needed to be at work early the next morning. Since I am not a morning person, regardless of how much sleep I get, I knew I needed to go ahead and get some shut eye.
I was watching the end of the second quarter between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers. It was a tight game that could either way. However, what was most intriguing about the game was the immortal Tim Duncan. Timmy was being Timmy. In the first half, he was seven of eight from the floor for 16 points. He was tossing in floaters, posting up one the the league’s best defenders, DeAndre Jordan, and he was creating space to allow his teammates to knock down easy baskets.
For some reason, the Twitterverse was shocked. I was more shocked to see Steve Blake still in the league playing for the Portland Trailblazers. There was absolutely nothing shocking about Timmy doing the same thing he has been doing for the past 17 years. Were people shocked because he will be 39 on Saturday? Were people shocked because he plays for the Spurs, a team many label as boring? Or were people simply shocked because it was Tim Duncan.
Those people made me laugh. If it was Kobe Bryant or LeBron James or Kevin Durant, shock would be the furthest thing from their mind. Newsflash, ain’t nobody doing what Timmy has done for as long as he has done it. The man is immortal. He barely ages. His energy level has barely diminished. And after watching him play last night, I am convinced that he is capable of catching up with Michael Jordan this year in the rings department.
For 17 years we have been witnessing greatness and we better embrace it while he is still dishing it out. He has stayed true to himself since he raced up and down he courts at Wake Forest. He will not draw you in with his cockiness. He has none. He will not draw you in with his outward display of emotion. It is rare that you see it. He will not wow you at a press conference. He is not a many of many words. Where he will wow you is on the court. Watching him play makes me smile. His fundamentals are some of the purest I have ever seen.
Often, I do not hear Timmy’s name mentioned in the top 5 category. Let me tell you this, Tim Duncan is one of the five greatest players to ever step onto an NBA court. Want to debate it? Come on. I have plenty of facts to back it up. Until then, sit back, relax and enjoy the Timmy show! #GoSpursGo
I have not watched the NBA consistently since around 2004. The year the Pistons won the chip. I remember very vividly how much I liked to watch them play, together. Plus who did not love hearing John Mason croon out “Deeeee-troit Basketball” over the PA system a few times during the course of a game.
Last night took me back to those days. The days when I would sit in front of a tv for over two hours watching men run up and down the court. The days when I would squeal with delight when a player made a play that would have me hopping out of my seat(ala Ginobli throwin it down on Bosh). The days when basketball was played as a TEAM. Watching the San Antonio Spurs dominate the NBA Finals was a thing of beauty. The passing, the shots, the unselfish play, the adjustments, the patience, the coaching…just beautiful. I have never seen the game of basketball executed so beautifully.
The Spurs are the type of team I grew up watching. In the 90s, I loved watching the Bulls play. I was a “fan” of them just like everyone else. I enjoyed watching them execute the triangle offense with so much precision. While they had a dominant force in Michael Jordan leading the way, everyone, including MJ, played their role and they played it well. When the NBA started shifting from the team game to having one major superstar, a few semi-stars and a bunch of bench fillers on the team, I checked out. There was nothing enjoyable about that style of play.
So back to last night. Here I was, gleefully, watching the Spurs put on a clinic, reminiscing on the old days. Happy to see old school basketball prevail. I think it is safe to say only a handful of people around the world picked the Spurs to dominate the Heat. Shoot, I did not even see many people picking the Spurs to win(I did) which was baffling considering they were 25 seconds away from a championship last year. However, the Spurs made it obvious in Game 1 that they were seeking three things: revenge, redemption and a fifth ring. Check. Check. And check.
From the rejuvenated Tim Duncan to the elusive Tony Parker to the sparkplug Manu Ginobli to the silent assassin Kawhi Leonard to the reliable Boris Diaw to the dagger Patty Mills to the trigger Danny Green to the confident Tiago Splitter to the mastermind Gregg Popovich, the Spurs executed the very finesse that is basketball. The game is team first. It is next man up. It is fun. It is resilient. It is exciting. It is selfless. That is Spurs basketball. However as good as they are, I heard so many people moaning and groaning about them playing in the Finals again that I have to wonder if we have become so accustomed to only being able to equate success with individuality that we have failed to realize that success often comes in the form of a team? Whether it is your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, church family, etc, there is often a group of individuals that pushes and holds us up as we climb the ladder of success. The joy I saw on the Spurs bench was nothing short of a complete team celebrating in an accomplishment that they all contributed too. And hopefully, Timmy will not retire and they can do this again next year. Fingers crossed.
Twitter was all abuzz last night when the Los Angeles Clippers DeAndre Jordan made the Detroit Pistons Brandon Knight the newest trend.
In case you missed why, here you go…
Of course with any good posterization, you have to start looking at others. So I have provided links to some of my all time favorites. I am pretty sure nothing will ever replace Vince Carter’s dunk over 7’2 Frederic Weis in the 2000 Olympics. I mean really? Dude never stood a chance. And the leg shake after the dunk…classic. I am also pretty sure that up until this point there has never been a more disrespectful posterization than Scottie Pippen over Patrick Ewing. The dunk was nasty. The stare down he gave Ewing was nasty. And the fact that he made a beeline to Spike Lee’s courtside seat to let him know just how nasty his dunk was and how he felt about the Knicks was the cherry on top. Enjoy!!!