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June 25 in sports history: Fundamentally speaking, he was great

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 6/24/2020 John Banks, Yardbarker
Tim Duncan, David Robinson are posing for a picture: Tim Duncan, the first pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, and Tim Robinson were a dynamic 1-2 punch for the Spurs. © John McDonough/Icon Sportswire Tim Duncan, the first pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, and Tim Robinson were a dynamic 1-2 punch for the Spurs.

Here's a look back at notable sports news on June 25 through the years:

Tim Duncan's nickname, "The Big Fundamental," was a nod to his solid, all-around game. Sure, he may have been a tad boring, but the Class of 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame member could hoop with the best.

This date was special for Duncan and San Antonio for two reasons: In 1997, the four-year star at Wake Forest was selected by the Spurs with the first pick of the draft, and two years later, "TBF" was the main reason why San Antonio won its first NBA title.

Duncan was the first senior taken No. 1 in the draft since Larry Johnson of UNLV went to Charlotte in 1991. He joined another big man in the Spurs' lineup, David Robinson, to form a formidable pairing — one surely destined to improve on the team's 20-62 record in 1997.

This draft was notable for another reason: Chicago didn't trade disgruntled Scottie Pippen, as had been rumored. The Celtics, Warriors, 76ers, Nets, Nuggets and Lakers apparently were interested.

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After the draft, Duncan was welcomed with a rally in San Antonio. The victory celebration there came in 1999, when he led the Spurs to a five-game NBA Finals win over the Knicks. "TBF," who averaged 27.4 points and 14 rebounds against New York, was named Finals MVP.

"Duncan won the MVP?" Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said, tongue in cheek. "Really? That's a shock."

In a stretch of the fourth quarter of the Spurs' 78-77 win in the decisive Game 5, Duncan scored 15 of his team's 16 points.

"It's an incredible honor," "The Big Fundamental," told reporters about his championship hardware. "But all it means is that they're going to come at you harder next time."

Oh so boring, but oh so fundamentally sound.

AN UNLIKELY NO-HITTER ...

1999: In the midst of a black cloud individual season, rookie Jose Jimenez found a little sunshine. In 1-0 win over Arizona, the right-hander tossed St. Louis' first no-hitter in 16 years, and in the process, he outdueled "The Big Unit," Randy Johnson.

"I feel like I want to fly," he told reporters with a smile. Jimenez, who entered the game with a 1-7 record and an 8.04 ERA, was saved by two diving catches.

... A GEM THAT REQUIRED EXTRA EFFORT ...

2010: It wasn't a masterpiece, but Edwin Jackson didn't mind. 

In a no-hitter against Tampa Bay, the Diamondbacks' righty walked eight — seven in the first three innings — and hit a batter in Arizona's 1-0 win. In 1965, Jim Maloney of the Reds set the mark for walks in a no-hitter with 10. Oh, Jackson also needed 149 pitches to complete the "gem."

"He kept saying, 'I'm fine. I'm not coming out. I'm not coming out. I'm not coming out,'" Arizona manager A.J.Hinch told the Arizona Republic. "You do want to make smart decisions, but you do have a chance at history and you don't want to take it away from him."

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... AND A PITCHER WHO OWNS  A TEAM

2014: It's no surprise the Padres, the weakest-hitting team in the big leagues, were sick of facing Tim Lincecum. For the second time in less than a year, the Giants' righty no-hit San Diego — this time beating the Friars, 4-0.  

Lincecum became the second pitcher in major league history to twice no-hit the same team. Cleveland's Addie Joss did it to the White Sox in 1908 and 1910.

Lincecum also became the first pitcher since Rick Wise in 1971 to get two hits and pitch a no-hitter. "I got that thing [batting average] above .100 and feel much better about it," he told reporters.

LOUIS: I'M DONE

1948: After he knocked out  Jersey Joe Walcott in the 11th round in his heavyweight title defense, Joe Louis announced his retirement. "For my mother — this is for her — tonight was my last night," said Louis, who added he would enter politics.

Lewis, 34, retired officially in early 1949, but he came out of retirement in 1951. After his loss to Rocky Marciano in October that year, he retired for good. 

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AN AMAZING SHOT

2017: At the Travelers Championship, Jordan Spieth made an epic shot to seal the wire-to-wire win on the first playoff hole: a 60-foot birdie from a greenside bunker. After the ball dropped in the hole, Spieth tossed his sand wedge and chest-bumped with his caddy. 

The crowd went bonkers.

"I mean the ground was shaking," the 23-year-old Texan said.

"... it's just Jordan doing Jordan things," playoff competitor Daniel Berger said.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST

1968: In his first game in the big leagues, 22-year-old Bobby Bonds, father of the all-time home run leader, Barry, hit a grand slam off John Purdin in the Giants' 9-0 win over the Dodgers. 

"That ball," San Francisco first baseman Willie McCovey said of the blast at Candlestick Park, "was hit about as hard as a man can hit it with that wind."

1998: Dueling Mark McGwire in a race to break the MLB home run mark for a season, the Cubs' Sammy Sosa went yard for the 19th time in the month — setting a major league record. The Cubs still lost, 6-4, to the Tigers.

The blast was Sosa's 12th in his past 13 games. In his last 23 games, he had 23 HRs and 45 RBI. Hmmm...

2003: Todd McFarlane, a millionaire and self-described baseball fanatic, paid $450,000 at an auction for the ball Barry Bonds hit for his 73rd homer in 2001 -- a major league record for a season. His bid for the ball was aired live on ESPN's "SportsCenter."

McFarlane spent a little more, $3 million, for Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball, the previous record for a season.

"I'm hoping this time the record might last at least 30 years. I can't do this every (few) years," McFarlane told the Arizona Republic. "I can amortize this one over 30 years and make it work."

Happy birthday ...

  • Former Knicks star Willis Reed, who played his entire career with New York. The Hall of Famer was the 1965 Rookie of the Year and first NBA player to win the All-Star Game, regular-season and Finals MVP in the same season. (78)
Happy 54th birthday, Dikembe! Nice jacket, by the way.  © Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Happy 54th birthday, Dikembe! Nice jacket, by the way. 
  • Retired NBA defensive great Dikembe Mutombo, four-time Defensive Player of the Year. The Hall of Famer, eight-time All-Star and prolific shot-blocker twice led the Association in rebounds and three times in blocks. (54)
  • Dell Curry, second all-time points leader for the Charlotte Hornets and 1994 Sixth Man of the Year. The father of NBA’s Steph and Seth Curry, Dell has done color commentator for the Hornets’ TV broadcasts. (56)
  • Former major league first baseman Carlos Delgado, who is one of a handful of players to hit at least 30 homers in 10 consecutive seasons. (48)

R.I.P.

1992: Jerome Brown, standout defensive tackle for the Eagles and the University of Miami. The two-time Pro-Bowler played alongside Eagles great Reggie White, dominating offenses. Brown and his 12-year-old nephew died in a car crash. He was 27.

2019: Ken Behring, former owner of the Seahawks. The real estate developer, who failed in his attempt to move the team to Southern California, owned the franchise during some its worst seasons in the ‘80s and ‘90s before selling it for nearly $200 million in 1997 to Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. Behring was 91.

June 24: 'It stinks someone had to lose'

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