While it doesn’t seem like it on the surface, UConn’s Shabazz Napier and Tim Duncan of, well, we all know what team Tim Duncan plays for, share one particular trait in common. In terms of their level of basketball, they’re both old as dirt.
Of course, neither are “old” in the grand scheme of life, but being a senior in college basketball and a 37-year-old (extremely productive) big man in the NBA full under the minority umbrella. Yet, both Napier and Timmy D came through when No. 14 UConn and the Spurs needed them the most nailing game winners at home against No. 12 Florida and the Atlanta Hawks.
In what was a thrilling college basketball game – one many had no clue was even happening – the lead changed six times in the final six minutes. Napier’s second opportunity at glory capped off a 26-point performance (5-8 from three), which included a sick sequence of events of nearly losing the rock, splitting a double team, heaving a prayer only to have it tapped to him a la Robert Horry in the 2002 Western Conference finals.
Duncan, meanwhile, finished with a man-sized double-double of 23 points and 21 rebounds, making The Big Fundamental the first player 37 or older with a 20-20 game since Robert Parish in 1991. “The Chief’s” is the more impressive of the two. Not because of nostalgia, but rather because Parish was probably higher than Sputnik that game.