Tim Duncan started playing basketball because of fear of sharks

By Vincent Frank
Courtesy of USA Today Images

Following his quiet retirement from the game after basketball after 19 seasons in the NBA, future Hall of Fame big man Tim Duncan has been the subject of some tremendous stories about his life on the court and the somewhat shy figure off the hardwood.

Someone that many would consider intriguing from a personal perspective, Duncan never really felt comfortable in the public eye during his near two-decade long career, a career that saw him earn five NBA titles.

None of his on-court success would have been possible if it wasn’t for a natural disaster that took place on his homeland of the U.S. Virgin Islands when he was a child.

An avid swimmer growing up, Duncan was directly impacted by Hurricane Hugo, a category five storm that ravaged his home city of St. Croix when he was 13 years old back in 1989.

It was in this that Duncan gave up his life-long aspirations of becoming an Olympic swimmer to focus on basketball.

No, this wasn’t because he had some sort of epiphany as a teenager. Rather, it was all about a fear of sharks (via Grunge.com).

See, the facility in which Duncan trained to become a swimmer was destroyed in the hurricane, forcing him to train in the ocean. Afraid of the sea’s most menacing figure, Duncan decided to give up swimming to focus on basketball.

Maybe it was the movie “Jaws” that turned Duncan off from attempting a career as an Olympic swimmer, an initial obsession that was rooted in his older sister taking part in the 1988 summer games.

No matter the real reasoning here, we’re pretty sure fans in San Antonio and all over the NBA won’t complain too much about the end result.

Duncan’s 19-year NBA career will go down as one of the greatest in his history of the Association. In addition to the five Larry O’Brien trophies he hoisted, the former Wake Forest standout won three NBA Finals MVP awards, earned 15 All-Star Game appearances and was named to the All-NBA First Team a whopping 10 times.