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Why Did Tim Duncan Decide to Play Basketball?

The Big Fundamental, Timothy Duncan, retired as the only player in the basketball world to ever win 1,000 games with one franchise. In his career, he scored 26,496 points and played for 47,638 minutes. But did you know he didn’t start off with basketball in the first place?

Timothy Duncan trained to be an Olympic swimmer like his older sister. When Hurricane Hugo destroyed the only Olympic pool in the Virgin Islands, he decided to play basketball since he was too scared of sharts to train in the ocean.

How Did Tim Duncan Start Out with Swimming?

Timothy Theodore Duncan was born on April 25, 1976, in Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands. He is the youngest son of Ione and William Duncan. His sisters were professional swimmers. One of them represented the US Virgin Islands at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Scott, his older brother, became a film director and cinematographer.

Duncan did very well in school and always dreamed of swimming in the Olympics just like his sister, Tricia. His parents were very supportive, and he truly excelled at the sport. He stood out in the 50, 100, and 400-meter freestyle. He was preparing to go to the 1992 Olympic games as part of Team USA. (Source: Jock Bio)

What Made Tim Duncan Change His Mind About Swimming?

Hurricane Hugo destroyed the only Olympic-sized swimming pool in the US Virgin Island in 1989. This forced Duncan to train in the ocean instead. He lost interest in the sport quickly due to his fear of sharks. In addition, his mother succumbed to breast cancer a day before his 14th birthday. Before she passed on, she made Duncan and his siblings promise that they would all graduate from college, which was precisely the reason why he refused to leave college early to play for the NBA.

Duncan never got to swim competitively, but his brother-in-law inspired him to play basketball instead. He was initially having problems adapting to the game. But he soon overcame his awkwardness and started to stand out in the court.

Duncan was so huge. So big and tall, but he was awfully awkward at the time.

Nancy Pomroy, St, Croix Country Day School Althetic Director

Needless to say, he became the star of the show, which caught the eye of several universities. Dave Odom, Wake Forest University’s basketball coach, was highly interested in Duncan after playing with the NBA star Alonzo Mourning. At the time, Odom was looking for a tall and physical player that could play near the basket. Despite having offers from the University of Delaware, Providence College, and the University of Hartford, Duncan chose to join Odom’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons. (Source: Jock Bio)

What Does Tim Duncan Do Today?

After a very fruitful career as an NBA player, Tim Duncan was named by NBA fans as the greatest power forward of all time. Today, he still works with the San Antonio Spurs as their assistant coach. He started with the team in 1997 and played as long as 2016. He started assisting with the coaching from 2019 up until today. (Source: Players Bio)

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