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Appreciate the Underappreciated:Tim Duncan's 15 Years of Dominance

Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard beat me to the punch. On May 21, Wake Forest's own Tim Duncan was on the cover, and was the topic of the cover story. On the cover read, 'Finally getting to know the greatest, least appreciated player of his generation.' I couldn't have said it better myself.

Right before our very eyes is someone who is a top-10 player of all-time, and is without question, the greatest power forward to ever play the game. Yet, the national media (ESPN) just takes his greatness for granted. They never take the time to stop and talk about Tim Duncan's greatness. They just quickly acknowledge his greatness and then move on to discuss players who have a greater national appeal like Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard, even though neither of those two players will ever come close to Duncan's level of all-time greatness. They are too concerned about getting ratings, and someone who is humble and the consummate professional is just not good business for ESPN.

After the jump, I'll go in-depth about his greatness with the hopes of spreading the word.

With so many of today's NBA players we play the "what-if" game. 'What if he had a jumper?' 'What if he had a post game?' 'What if he were a better shot blocker?' 'What if he tried a little bit harder?' We never had to play the "what-if" game with Tim Duncan. That man could do it all. Duncan has one of the purest post-games that you will ever see. His footwork and touch around the rim are second to none. He always looks in control on the basketball court. Watching him school DeAndre Jordan last series was a thing of beauty. It was once again proof that skill and intelligence will beat athleticism every time. He would patiently wait for Jordan to over commit, and then he majestically spun towards the basket for an easy two. That patience and skill has allowed him to score 22,558 points, which is good for 26th all-time. What's more impressive, is that scoring is probably is third-best skill.

Tim Duncan has 12,533 career rebounds, which is good for 18th all-time. He led the league in rebounding only one time, but has been top 5 in the league 11 times. He has also been a top-10 shot blocker in the league 12 times. Duncan has 2nd highest defensive rating in NBA History. This kind of of extended dominance is simply unheard of.

All of that adds up to:

2x MVP

4x NBA Champion

3x Finals MVP

NBA Rookie of the Year

13x All Star

9x All-NBA First Team

3x All-NBA Second Team

1x All-NBA Third Team

8x All-Defensive First Team

5x All-Defensive Second Team

Why is it we don't constantly rave about him again?

We need to appreciate his greatness while we still can. Tune in and watch the Spurs play the Thunder. Contrary to popular belief, this Spurs team is really fun to watch. They have outstanding ball movement and are truly a team. Cheer on the Spurs, and be proud to be able to call Tim Duncan one of your own. He's the epitome of class and professionalism. I couldn't be prouder to call him a Deacon. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame the second he becomes eligible, hopefully he'll be wearing at least one more ring at his induction ceremony.

We don't have to ask "what-if" with Tim Duncan. He's fulfilled his potential and then some. Not bad for a former swimmer who didn't start playing basketball until he was 14.