Boring years ago, indispensable today. So varies the perspective on
A short decade ago, as
Now imagine if he had betrayed his principles and become what so many wanted of him. Where would the NBA be today?
For it's clear now that Duncan, more than any other NBA star, has served as the bridge through those lost years when
The answer is
This past season Duncan recovered from plantar fasciatis to lead the Spurs to their third title in five years. Already recognized as the top power forward in NBA history, Duncan morphed into the dominant center in the league last season. Then he agreed to a contract extension worth $11 million less than he could have had, enabling the Spurs to afford good players around him in future. As the NBA seeks to profit from China and beyond, remember that it was Duncan who empowered immigrants
More than any other star of the last decade, Duncan maintained his respect for the NBA's ideals even when the league occasionally trampled its own virtues. For upholding those values, he'll be hailed generations from now as a founding father of the new global era. In the meantime, for whatever it's worth, he is my Sportsman of the Year.