Saturday February 19, 2011, Los Angeles, All Star weekend : The Players’ Media Availability had just ended. I was rushing to go interview Tim Duncan. As I entered the hallway, Dwayne Wade appeared at the door. I hesitated…Timmy was on my mind. As Wade and his minders passed, I was undecided: to follow Wade or keep chasing Timmy? Then, Timmy appeared in the doorway. I moved towards him, “sorry man, I’m kinda running late. Another time?” He said with a smile, without breaking his stride…
That meeting was my first encounter with Tim Duncan. I had missed him at the 2010 edition. The cold of Dallas had caught me by surprise. I’d driven from Houston and arrived at the worst winter in Dallas for years, so I stayed mostly indoors. But Los Angeles was ‘warmer’ and I was determined to meet Timmy. It didn’t happen!
I would have the chance to speak with him at subsequent All Star Weekends, most notably the 2014 Edition in New Orleans, where I also had the chance to interview Steph Curry for the first time. But my love affair with Tim Duncan started way back in 1997, after I read his story just before he was drafted: That story inspired me, and birthed a love for the man that has remained till this day.
He had an good College career and could have joined the League earlier but instead, stayed the full four years at Wake Forest. When San Antonio Spurs drafted him, I became a Spurs fan.
Then, as the years unfolded, and more of the man showed. Spurs won a title, then another, and another. Then, Timmy made sacrifices, so the team could add more pieces, and won more titles. His humility, approach to the game, and the respect he showed his coaches and opponents made him the toast of the League and earned the respect of his peers.
Timmy played basketball the way it should be played, and earned the name “The Big Fundamental”.
My biggest regret: I never saw Timmy and Spurs lift an NBA title. I saw Los Angeles Lakers win twice, I was present at the coronation of Dallas Mavericks (I actually was hoping to see LeBron James earn his first ring!) But I never saw Timmy and Spurs win any of the five Championships. I’ll see Spurs win one day…and maybe will be cheering the team, with Timmy present…