Tim Duncan used to train tirelessly for Olympic level swimming when he lived in St. Croix before ever trying to learn basketball.
Tim Duncan is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to have ever stepped foot on NBA hardwood. Everything from 5 championships and two league MVPs to the countless All-NBA and All-Star nods over a 19-year career, the San Antonio Spurs thrived with Duncan and Gregg Popovich at the helm from the late 90s to the mid 2010s.
Despite being in the top 10 of greatest NBA players of all time, it’s quite rare to hear from Timmy D. He was a part of the Spurs coaching staff in 2020 and even picked up his first win as an interim head coach after Pop was ejected but rarely talks to the media. If he does, it’s fairly basic Q&A between him and the reporters.
While being a player in the league however, it is quite difficult to duck the limelight as it is incredibly constant, especially when you’re a superstar of Duncan’s caliber.
In a 2 part vlog type video in 2005 (the year Tim Duncan won his 3rd championship), he revealed he’d actually been training for a different sport altogether as a child.
Tim Duncan on wanting to become a swimmer.
Tim Duncan revealed that he used to swim the equivalent of 5000-8000 meters a day when he was training to be a swimmer during his youth. Having lived and grown up in St. Croix, an island that is a part of the United State Virgin Islands, swimming was a big part of his life.
Unfortunately, all that training would be futile as Hurricane Hugo ravished the island, destroying the only Olympic size swimming pool on the island. This led to him having to divert his attention to another sport as it was clear he was physically gifted to go down that avenue.
Another thing that stopped Tim Duncan from competitive swimming was his fear of sharks that developed from a childhood of swimming in open waters.
While the circumstances of how Tim got into swimming are unfortunate, the basketball world is grateful that he decided to enter the realm of basketball as fans got to witness greatness on both ends of the ball for 19 years.