Hall of Fame career

San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan retired this week, ending an incredible 19-year career that saw him win five NBA Championships, play on 15 All-Star teams, score over 26,000 points, and, even more amazingly, in the era of free agency, he played all 19 of his seasons with one team that never had a losing record and made the playoffs every year of his career.

Beyond statistics

But the truly amazing thing about Tim Duncan goes far beyond what the stat sheet shows; he played with a quiet dignity that is rare among athletes today.

No showboating, no chest pounding, no showing-up another player, no cheap or hard fouls (he averaged 2.4 personal fouls per game), no me, me, me. Not to say he lacked intensity or wasn't competitive, you don’t win championships without those, but he was able to have those in abundance while still respecting himself, his opponents, his teammates and the game.

Today’s athletes

Not only was Duncan’s playing style respectful, it is probably the reason the Spurs won so often.

How many times have we seen in the last decade in either an NBA or college Basketball game a player make a huge spectacle after a dunk only to leave his team a man short on defense as the other team scores an easy basket at the other end, or a baseball player admiring a long drive only to be thrown out at second base as it hits off the top of the wall?Duncan kept it simple, score a basket, get back on defense.

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How to do it

The best examples of a Tim Duncan today would probably be Steph Curry, who gets extra points for a lot of his off the court activities with fans and LeBron James, although he losses a few points for that sumo hand powder thing he does before tip-off.

Legacy

His lack of flash may have cost him endorsements and often left him out of the conversation when it came to who were the best players of his era.

What he should always be remembered for is a first ballot Hall of Fame career and the best example of how a professional athlete should carry themselves.

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