Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone? While Jonie Mitchell never lied, the saying and Q-Tip quote prove true for Tim Duncan.
For those outside of San Antonio and those with no ties to the Virgin Islands or the Demon Deacons, the Big Fundamental was a force but not always a fan favorite. More bank shots than alley-oops and with a quieter and calmer game and personality than that of other 4-spots in the league — namely KG and Sheed — it was easy to not give Timmy his props, right?
Wrong. #21 in the rafters but #1 in the all-time rankings for his position, Duncan might just be the best player of the post-Jordan era, surpassing Shaq, Kobe and other greats with rings and stats. While his team-first attitude made him the perfect protege for Pops and a great guy on and off the court as Manu and more will attest, he was still as sharp of an individual player as it gets. For these efforts, he was awarded with his first MVP trophy on this day 15 years ago.
Wearing his Nike Air Max Duncan II signature shoe in front of his home team fans, Timmy would go on to win the award in back-to-back fashion by repeating the next year. The only difference for kick collectors? The next time he would be on adidas which he would rock for the rest of his career.
Because of this and numerous other factors, the Nike Air Max Duncan II has never retroed and likely never will. Mid-top in cut, sleek in styling, the shoe packed synthetic composition and zip-up closure similar to the Foamposite and Flightposite models he made memories and history in before.
There may never be a retro run of any of the Big Fundamental’s signature shoes, but there will likely never be another Tim Duncan, too. Polished, poised and professional, thanks for the memories, TD.
Lead image by Andrew D. Bernstein via Getty Images