For nearly two decades, Tim Duncan held sway as one of the most prolific power forwards the NBA has ever seen. Having been selected as the first overall in the 1997 NBA Draft, the player went on to live up to expectations by returning incredible feats, year in year out.
In a glorious career that lasted 19 years, Duncan helped the San Antonio Spurs win five NBA championships. He also received several honors, such as the NBA final MVP (3x), NBA MVP (2x), All NBA First Team (10X), All-Defensive First Team (8x), NBA All-Star (15x), and All-Defensive Second Team (7x), and went down in history as the greatest power forward in the annals of the NBA. All these he did without much fuss and so, many came to regard him as the gentle giant.
Tim Duncan has now retired and for his second act, he seems to be heading into coaching. Many, however, doubt that he would stick with this in the long run and are betting that the Hall of Famer would soon ditch the coaching ranks to go back to the life of a family man, his car customization business, and the occasional Spurs game.
How a Hurricane Made Him Leave Swimming for Basketball
The former ace player was born into the family of William and Ione Duncan in Saint Croix, United States Virgin Islands on the 25th of April, 1976. He is the youngest of the four children of his parents and two of his eldest sisters are champion swimmers. This naturally made him toe the same career path and he emerged as a potential Olympic swimmer during his teens.
Tim Duncan was therefore headed to life as a professional swimmer when hurricane Hugo, which struck the island in 1989, drastically changed the course of his future. The hurricane destroyed the only decent swimming pool on the island and the young Tim was forced to resort to the oceans for practice sessions. He however realized that it was a dangerous venture and quit altogether. With nothing to occupy his time anymore, Tim Duncan began searching for new sporting opportunities in earnest, and a brother-in-law of his suggested that he try basketball. He imbibed the advice and to the surprise of everyone, took to the sport like fish to water.
As a senior at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal High School, Duncan averaged 25 points and this fetched him numerous scholarship offers from different universities. He then picked the lesser-known Wake Forest University and went on to spend four complete years with them (1993-1997). As any keen follower of the NCAA sports system would know, it is only average players that play out four complete years in the NCAA division. Other supremely-talented stars often dump the division for the pros after just one or two years but this was not the case with Duncan even, though he was a prolific player.
The young boy had promised his late mama that he would complete his college degree and so made sure to pay attention during his psychology classes. He equally excelled on the field of play. In a total of 108 games for Wake Forest, Tim averaged 16.5 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks as he led his team to 97 victories. This feat fetched him several honors including ACC player of the year (2x), and First Team All-ACC (3x). He was also named best collegiate basketball player throughout America in 1997.
Tim Duncan Led the San Antonio Spurs to Their First-ever Championship in Just His Second Season
Having received his college degree in 1997, Tim Duncan declared himself ready for that year’s NBA draft. This declaration set several teams in a frenzy but only one team could land him and the lucky side was the San Antonio Spurs. The Virgin Islands native would proceed to spend the entirety of his career with the Spurs during which he rewrote the franchise’s history books.
For his rookie season of 1997, Tim Duncan averaged a mind-blowing 21.1 points, 11.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.5 blocks as his team made it to the playoffs. He was named the rookie of the month for every single month that season and by the end of the season, was named the rookie of the year.
Many a player would have lost their heads at this point, given such astonishing achievements but not Duncan. He maintained his characteristic calm demeanor and went on to return impressive stats in his sophomore season. Aided by his partnership with another star player, center – David Robinson, he was able to lead the Spurs to the playoffs that year and they defeated the likes of the L.A. Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers to make it to the finals.
In the final game itself, Duncan gave a superb individual performance as the Spurs defeated the New York Knicks, 4-1, to win their first championship. This victory left Duncan in 7th heaven and his joy was further heightened after he received a slew of individual honors such as NBA finals MVP, All-NBA First Team, and NBA All-Defensive First Team.
His Star-studded 2003 Season in Which He Was Named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year
With the dawn of a new millennium in the year 2000, Tim Duncan continued to massively impress on the basketball court. He returned astonishing stats with each preceding season but the Spurs failed to make much headway in the playoffs for three consecutive years. This left many fans disgruntled and they blamed Duncan for their woes. This was, however, not true as the power forward continued to receive individual accolades as a testament to his performance.
For instance, in the 2001/2002 season, Tim Duncan received All-NBA First Team and NBA All-Defensive First Team honors. He was also named the league’s MVP that year despite the fact that his team did not win the championships. All these showed that the fault did not lie with him and he finally proved this when he led to the Spurs to their second championship at the end of the 2002/2003 season.
That year, the power forward averaged 23.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 2.9 blocks as the Spurs made it to the playoffs. During the playoffs, he averaged 24.7 points, 3.3 blocks, 5.3 assists, and 15.4 point rebounds as they eventually emerged champions. Duncan’s individual contributions earned him an avalanche of accolades including All-NBA First Team, NBA All-Defensive First team, NBA MVP, and NBA Finals MVP. He also received the Sports Illustrated sportsmen of the year for 2003 alongside his partner in play, David Robinson.
The Spurs Legend is the Second Player in NBA History To Win a Championship in Three Different Decades
Following Robinson’s retirement in 2003, Tim Duncan now emerged as the captain of the Spurs. This new responsibility fuelled him to do even more for the team and he spearheaded their victory to a 3rd and 4th NBA championship in 2005 and 2007 respectively. The later years saw a drop in the player’s productivity due to injury issues, as well as the fact that he was getting on in age. He then showed that he still had it in him by leading the Spurs to their fifth championship in 2014.
That particular year, Tim Duncan averaged 15.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.0 assists as the Spurs won the largest victories in their league. In the playoffs, Duncan also stood out as his team defeated the likes of Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder, as well as the Miami Heat to lift the championship once more. The victory saw him make history as just the second NBA player to win championships in three different decades. The first to achieve such a feat was center/power forward – John Salley, who won four championships between 1989 and 2000.
This 2014 Triumph marked the last championship that Tim Duncan would win with the Spurs. He then went on to set several records before his eventual retirement in 2016. They include the third player to record 1000 regular-season victories, the sixth player to reach 15,000 rebounds, the first player to play over 9,000 minutes in the playoffs, and the 19th player in NBA history to reach 25,000 points, etc.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 11, 2016
Retirement and Surprise Emergence as the Spurs Assistant Coach in October 2019
Having come, seen, and thoroughly conquered the NBA, Tim Duncan called time on his glorious career in June 2016. His announcement led to an outpouring of tributes as fellow stars, such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobili, and Dirk Nowitzki, paid respect to him. Even the teams he had tormented during his heydays had no choice but to also pour encomiums on him, and the Spurs retired his No. 21 jersey.
It has now been about four years since his retirement and Duncan is keeping an open mind with regards to his post-retirement career options. One of the things he has recently sampled is coaching. The legendary power forward was asked to step in as an assistant coach for the Spurs in October 2019, following the team’s difficulties in filling that particular role.
Tim remains in that position to date but many seasoned analysts point out that this does not mean that he is in coaching for the long haul. According to them, the ex-player only agreed to take that role in order to help his team out of a pickle and would be going back to retirement as soon as they get someone for it. It appears that there is some truth in this sentiment. For instance, Tim temporarily stepped in as the acting head coach for the Spurs game against the Charlotte Hornets in March 2020 and led them to a narrow 104-103 victory. After the match, the player was asked about his future and he said it himself that he was just there for the fun of it.
Tim Duncan’s Former Financial Adviser Defrauded Him of Millions
After spending close to two decades playing dazzling basketball, Tim Duncan has garnered jaw-dropping earnings from his contracts and endorsement deals. The Spurs legend received several juicy contracts during his time with the team, including a five-year deal that paid him $122 million between 2007 and 2011. Contracts like this helped him accumulate total salary earnings of $242.024 million.
Duncan also made an appreciable sum from endorsements with the likes of AT&T, Bridgestone, and Adidas. All these have enabled him to accumulate a net worth estimated at $130 million but he has also lost some of this fortune. Duncan’s former financial adviser, Charles Banks IV, defrauded him of about $6 million. The retired star also lost about $24.1 million which Banks IV was supposed to have been investing for him. The unscrupulous fellow was later convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment in June 2017. He was also asked to pay the player about $7.5 million in restitution.
The Retired NBA Star and His College Sweetheart Ended Up in a Messy Divorce Involving Allegations of Cheating, Bisexuality, etc
During his playing days, Tim Duncan was renowned for his mild-mannered and reserved personality. This meant he avoided scandals as a player but they somehow followed him to his private life. The retired NBA star was married to his college sweetheart named Amy nee Sherill. He and Amy (who was a cheerleader) dated all throughout their four years at Wake Forest and continued their relationship after he went pro. They later tied the knot on the 21st day of July 2001.
The couple welcomed two sons in the course of their marriage – Sydney (b. 2005) and Draven (b.2007). Their union was relatively smooth until Amy filed for divorce in March 2013. Tim counter-petitioned and both of the documents stated that the marriage had become insupportable due to discord between the parties that destroy the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any possible expectation of reconciliation. A judge later dissolved the couple’s marriage in private in August with just the parties and their lawyers present.
Duncan and Amy have never revealed what caused their divorce and the tabloids have had a field day. Some reports claim that Amy divorced Duncan because he was bisexual. According to these reports, the NBA star had a male lover all throughout his college days and the said lover lived with him and Amy for the first two years of their marriage. He then later bought a house for the unidentified fellow. Other reports have it that Amy was cheating on her husband with a personal trainer named Gilbert R. Urbano Jr. It seems that there are some truths to this particular allegation. It is on record that Duncan hired private investigators to get details of Gilbert. His divorce petition also asked the courts to restrain the gentleman from being anywhere around his kids.
He and Girlfriend, Vanessa Macias, Welcomed a Daughter in 2017
Tim Duncan is now going strong with a media personality named Vanessa Macias. A native of San Antonio, Vanessa began doing modeling and commercials in her teen years before going on to study at the Radio, TV, and Film School of San Antonio College, as well as the University of North Texas.
She has worked as a reporter for various TV shows, including Show Me Texas (a travel show) and Great Day S.A. (a morning show). She has also served as a sideline reporter and in-arena announcer for sports teams such as San Antonio Scorpions and San Antonio Missions. Macias was also a contestant on the CBS reality competition series, The Amazing Race, in 2011.
Duncan and Vanessa commenced their relationship in 2014 and have been together ever since. Vanessa was by her man’s side during his jersey retirement ceremony in December 2016 and still accompanies him to Spurs games occasionally. The couple now has a daughter named Quail who was born in March 2017. They are yet to talk about marriage and it may be that their first experience with the institution (Vanessa is also a divorcee) has made them gun shy.