Above: Tim Duncan and his four championship banners
By the Caribbean Journal staff
MIAMI — For a while on Tuesday night, it seemed that Tim Duncan would finally win his fifth NBA championship.
But a miraculous Ray Allen three pointer changed the script, and now Duncan enters the final game of the NBA Finals Thursday night, the final game of the NBA season and what could be the final basketball game of his career.
It’s a long way from where the story began for Duncan, in Christiansted, St Croix, in the United States Virgin Islands.
From a career at St Dunstan’s Episcopal high school, and a four-year, All-American career at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Duncan went on to the NBA, first starring alongside David Robinson and quickly coming into his own as an all-star power forward.
After 16 seasons, he stands as perhaps the greatest power forward of all time, and perhaps the greatest Caribbean-born player in NBA history — although Kingston’s Patrick Ewing makes a strong case, too.
The game has grown increasingly global over the years, and today’s NBA is full of players who were either born in the Caribbean or are of Caribbean heritage.
Duncan in part paved the way for all of them: Haiti’s Samuel Dalembert, Guadeloupe’s Rodrigue Beaubois, Martinique’s Ronny Turiaf, the Dominican Republic’s Al Horford, Jamaica’s Samardo Samuels, among others.
And as Duncan’s career winds down, who will take up his mantle as the Caribbean’s best player?
Most signs point to Indiana Pacers standout Roy Hibbert, who was born in the United States to a father from Jamaica and a mother from Trinidad, and who rose to stardom in this year’s Eastern Conference finals.
For now, Duncan waits, with one more chance to do what he has been trying for six years to achieve —to get ring number five.