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Tim Duncan passes Larry Bird on all-time scoring list

Jan 12, 2012, 12:57 PM EDT

Tim Duncan AP

Tim Duncan played maybe his best game of the season Wednesday night, he had a little jump in his step that is not there every night like it once was. Getting old sucks.

Duncan scored 17 points, which pushed him past Larry Bird up to No. 27 on the NBA all-time scoring list. Duncan has 21,798 points. Next up on the list would be Gary Payton, a guy the blog Project Spurs thinks he can pass this season (via Eye on Basketball).

Yes Celtics fans, Bird scored his in fewer games than Duncan. Calm down. We’re not denigrating Bird, but we need to celebrate Duncan. He is one of the best power forwards ever to play the game — fundamentally smooth, he defended and rebounded at an elite level, he is a guy who could play inside but had a signature outside shot (15-foot wing bank) that accounts for a lot of those points. He’s got four rings for a reason.

There are a number of active players on the scoring list ahead of him — Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen — but how many of them were better all-around players than Duncan?

  1. edmazeing1 - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Much Respect TD, from the biggest Spurs fan, in the world!!!

  2. chitownjeff - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    to a class guy who played big in big games!! Much respect to “big fundamentals”..

  3. rajbais - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Great career!!!!

  4. havlicekstoletheball - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    How many of those guys were better all-around players than Duncan?

    None. Not a one. Duncan was a dominant and very consistent big man who didn’t need to heave up 30 shots (Bryant) or scream and pound his chest like an idiot (Garnett).

    He became the focus as Robinson aged, was enough of a teammate to win two cham-peen-ships with Robinson, and two without him.

    Hell of a player. But seldom on ESPN, so wildly underrated.

  5. cosanostra71 - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    In my opinion, he is the best PF to ever play the game. As a Lakers fan, hate to say it, but I respect his game.

  6. sprest83 - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Everyone of those players are better than Duncan. Hands down.

  7. ragingmouse - Jan 12, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    TD – a winner and a class act all the way…

    Wish” sports “had more players like this…

  8. edwardemanuelson - Jan 12, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    To answer the question at the end, how many of them were better all around players? Only Kobe. All of the others’ careers pale when compared against Duncan. He is – and I still don’t understand why this is even still a debate after 4 titles – the greatest power forward of all time.

    • havlicekstoletheball - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      Dunno if Duncan is the greatest of all time, but he is in the top few.

      Karl Malone was very good. So was Elvin Hayes. As was Elgin Baylor.

      If all you go by is number of championships, then Tommy Heinsohn is the greatest. Even though he is a Holy Cross guy and all-time Celtic, he isn’t even in the top 20.

  9. skol22 - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Best PF to ever play. Class act and great person overall. Im just happy i got to watch one of the greatest players to ever play basketball. Go Spurs Go

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