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King James is a cute nickname held by Cleveland Cavaliers superstar, LeBron James. Heâ€™s certainly the king of sponsorship, one of Nikeâ€™s crown jewels who without question is the best player on a Cavs team that upset Detroit to reach this yearâ€™s NBA Finals. When it comes to true royalty, though, there was only one king in this yearâ€™s championship showdown and his initials were TD.
That stands for â€˜Top Dogâ€™, â€˜Tough Dudeâ€™ or Tim Duncan. When the Spurs edged the Cleveland Cavaliers 83-82 to complete a four-game sweep in the NBA Finals, Duncan celebrated his and San Antonioâ€™s fourth title since 1999. Duncan, 31, won the MVP award after wins in â€™99, 2003, and â€™05 â€“ while Tony Parker received the honour this year. TP was outstanding, but everyone knows that without TD, San Antonio would still be looking for their first moment of glory.
â€œObviously, watching Tim Duncan be a common thread through it all is especially satisfying and amazing to me that heâ€™s able to do what he does with that group,â€ said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who had the great fortune as general manager to be able to select Duncan with the first overall pick in 1997. Popovich then had the foresight to make himself head coach.
Great players have ran onto the court with Duncan. In â€™99, there was David Robinson. In the last two successes, there have been Parker and Manu Ginobili. â€œTim is the common denominator,â€ Popovich said. â€œHeâ€™s got a different cast around him from â€˜99, â€˜03 and â€˜05. Heâ€™s welcomed them all, heâ€™s found a way to help them all fit, feel comfortable in their roles, and not many players can do that.â€
And from a statistics standpoint, Duncan has been awesome. In this yearâ€™s finals, Duncan averaged 18.3 points and 11.5 rebounds. In 890 play-off games in his illustrious career, he has averaged 23.8 points and 12.5 rebounds in about 40 minutes per contest. He has shot better than 50 per cent. And heâ€™s also a class act, never one to show up an opponent.
In fairness to James, who jumped to the professional ranks straight out of high school, he has played just two years in the NBA. His first run in the play-offs was impressive when you consider his statistics. James averaged better than 25 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and one baby. Girlfriend Savannah Brinson gave birth to Bryce Maximus James early on the morning of Game Four.
James could have still been distracted at tip-off, but he didnâ€™t make any excuses for defeat. Instead, he shouldered the blame. â€œIf I donâ€™t play well, our team is not going to have a chance to win,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™ve got a lot of things to work on to get better for next year.â€ We played well,â€ James said. â€œWe definitely just faced a better team in this series, simple as that.â€