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On Tim Duncan and On Greatness

The inescapable truth of life is that the best feelings are fleeting, and worse, a lot of the time we don’t recognize those feelings until they’re gone.

Why do you watch sports?

I understand that’s a complicated question. It’s multifaceted.

I can tell you that you probably don’t want sports for the incessant off-court drama.

Perhaps it’s the drama that keeps us engaged, but why do you really watch sports?

We watch sports to see greatness, and to experience greatness. We watch sports to be a part of something great, to be close to something great.
There’s really nothing left to say, nothing left to write to describe Tim Duncan’s transcendent greatness.

We’ve got numbers. Boy do we have numbers. We have superlatives, characterizations, comparisons, verbs, adjectives……

It’s like love in a sense. I’m not saying I love Tim Duncan. I love my wife, and when you find that kind of love – that visceral, human love between two people – you can run out of ways to describe it. Why? Because language is only on the surface, it can only take us so far, it can only mean so much. We lack the human capacity to sufficiently describe the most natural human feelings.

Here’s what I can’t describe to you, much in the same way that I can’t tell you what love is. I cannot describe to you the feeling I had when Tim Duncan blocked Blake Griffin’s shot with less than a minute left in the early morning hours of Wednesday in Game 5 of the Spurs’ first-round series against the Clippers.

I’m not saying that feeling is equal to love at all; I’m saying that was one of those moments that’s foolishly indescribable.

Context matters. Here’s Tim Duncan, a living legend, one of the five best players to ever play, 39 years old. On the other side is Blake Griffin, athletically on another planet, 26-years young with a full head of steam against a guy that has been called The Great Fundamental since Griffin was 12.

There I go again. I’m sorry; I’m trying to describe the indescribable.

I was in my living room in a quiet, empty house. My wife was sleeping in the bedroom a wall away from where I was. The lights were off, and I was in complete darkness, save for the bright glare of the television screen 10 feet from me.

That moment when Tim Duncan blocked Blake Griffin is why we watch sports. For the moments, as fleeting as they are that captivate us, that move us, that stop time and space.

For a moment, a very brief and immeasurably memorable moment, I felt and experienced true greatness. The moment, the feeling, alone, in that dark room and I was perfectly content.

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