Few players define the Gregg Popovich dynasty with the San Antonio Spurs like their former power forward Tim Duncan. In 19 NBA seasons, Duncan proved to be one of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball.
Duncan was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft following a historic career at Wake Forest. He promptly justified the selection by earning All-Star and Rookie of the Year honors in his first season.
By the end of year two, Duncan was an NBA champion and rapidly rising the ranks of global superstardom. By year six, he had two NBA MVPs, NBA titles and Finals MVP awards on his mantle.
When he retired in 2016, Duncan ranked among the all-time greats in just about every statistical category. As for accomplishments, his resume stacks up with the best of the best.
So let’s take a look into Tim Duncan’s incredible career and his fascinating life off the court:
How did Tim Duncan rise to prominence?
Timothy Theodore Duncan was born in the Virgin Islands in 1976. He was the youngest of four children but saw his two older sisters become star swimmers as a child. Duncan initially sought to become a swimmer himself, but turned to basketball after Hurricane Hugo destroyed the island’s only Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Duncan’s mother died of breast cancer when he was only 14, but not before she had him promise to get his college degree. He kept that promise, getting a scholarship to Wake Forest where he was a two-time ACC Player of the Year.
Tim Duncan dominated the college ranks, reaching the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight during his best years under Dave Odom. After keeping the promise to his mother and graduating from Wake Forest, he parlayed his success at the ACC school into the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft.
Under second-year head coach Gregg Popovich, Duncan was giving a starring role immediately. He started all 82 games that year, averaging 21.1 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Duncan was named an NBA All-Star and won Rookie of the Year honors for his incredible season.
And his star quickly ascended.
How did Tim Duncan win his five NBA titles?
Tim Duncan’s second NBA season was the strike-shortened 1998-99 season. The Spurs went 37-13 in the regular season, getting the top seed in the Western Conference, and blew through the playoffs that year. Duncan and the Spurs needed a grand total of 17 games to beat the Timberwolves, Lakers, Trail Blazers and Knicks to win their first-ever NBA title.
By the 2003 NBA playoffs, Duncan was a two-time MVP and once again the leader of the best team in the West. The Phoenix Suns, Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey Nets all took the Spurs to six games, but couldn’t overcome the Spurs as Duncan won his second ring and his second Finals MVP award.
Two years later, Duncan and the Spurs were in the Finals again. This time they were going up against the Detroit Pistons after have dispatched the Nuggets, SuperSonics and Suns. And once again, Duncan emerged victorious and as the Finals MVP.
In 2007, Tim Duncan secured one of his easier rings, leading the Spurs to a 4-0 sweep of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to win his fourth NBA title.
The fifth and final NBA title of Duncan’s career may have been his toughest one to get though.
In 2014, one year after losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Duncan and the Spurs faced LeBron James in the Finals once again. It had taken 18 games to reach the Finals, narrowly beating the Mavericks in the first round, then needing 11 games to beat the Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder to get to that point. But thanks to a breakout performance by Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Duncan got his fifth ring, ending the Miami Heat Big 3 dynasty in the process.
How many times did Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant meet in the playoffs?
There is a lot of overlap between the careers of Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan – especially at their respective peaks.
Between Tim Duncan’s rookie year in 1997-98 to his retirement in 2016, the Lakers and Spurs appeared in a combined 13 NBA Finals, winning 10 NBA titles. Needless to say, the two teams crossed paths a few times.
From 1999 to 2005 alone, the two teams met in the postseason five times. Duncan and the Spurs got the better of Kobe and the Lakers in 1999, sweeping them in the Western Conference Semifinals en route to their NBA title win that year.
They met again in 2001, this time with the Lakers returning the sweep in the Western Conference Finals en route to their own NBA title win. The story was largely the same in 2002 as the Lakers beat the Spurs in Game 5 in the Conference Semifinals.
In 2003, the Spurs evened up their postseason rivalry by winning 4-2 in the Conference Semifinals. But the Lakers retook the lead in 2004.
The final on-court meeting between Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant in the postseason came in the 2008 NBA playoffs. It was Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals and the Lakers led the series 3-1.
Kobe was unstoppable that day, leading all players with 39 points. Tim Duncan had a great game of his own, posting a 19-15-10 triple-double. But it wasn’t enough as the Lakers won 100-92 to reach the NBA Finals.
Duncan and the Spurs would face Kobe’s Lakers one more time in the 2013 playoffs. But Kobe was injured that series as the Spurs swept them 4-0.
Who was Tim Duncan’s first wife?
The Spurs superstar tied the knot with Amy Sherrill in July of 2001. The two were married for over a decade before the two were divorced in August 2013.
Is Duncan married now?
Tim Duncan isn’t married, but he isn’t exactly on the market now either. He’s been in a relationship with Vanessa Macias for some years now and has a daughter with her.
Who are Tim Duncan’s kids?
Tim Duncan had two kids with Amy Sherrill and one daughter with Vanessa Macias.
His first child, a daughter named Sydney, was born in the summer of 2005. Their second child together was a son, Draven, who was born two years later in summer 2007.
Duncan’s third child is a daughter, Quill, who Duncan admitted was named after the Marvel character Peter Quill, aka Starlord, from Guardians of the Galaxy.
What is Tim Duncan’s net worth?
Over his 19-year NBA career, Tim Duncan made a pretty penny in salary alone for the San Antonio Spurs. At his peak, he was earning over $22 million per year. Over the course of his entire career, his salary came out to well over $214 million.
Tack on the millions that Duncan received in endorsement deals, and Duncan has a current net worth of $130 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
What is Tim Duncan up to now?
In July of 2019, Duncan reunited with former head coach Gregg Popovich. This time, he took up a role as an assistant coach. He seemed primed for a long tenure with the team, and could have been groomed as Pop’s successor.
But Duncan decided to step away from the game late last year. He stepped down from his role with the Spurs on November 12, 2020.
Duncan keeps a relatively low profile on social media, preferring to work with his various philanthropic organizations.
Tim Duncan has led a remarkable life on and off the court. Whatever it is he has planned for next, there’s a good chance he’ll find success.