Whether it’s in a desperate come-from-behind win or a devastating blowout loss, Tebow-mania has officially swept over the nation. Perhaps no athlete with such miniscule professional experience has ever been as celebrated as much as the Mile High Messiah. Certainly not in basketball. J.J. Redick enjoyed some time as college’s nice guy as well as being a top player in the early-to-mid 2000s. Unfortunately for Redick, most fans weren’t too fond of him as Duke became equally as hated as the Miami Heat.
Tim Tebow is the whole package mentally, both on the field and off. Leading up to draft day, people were questioning his mechanics and ability to play at a high level. Instead of sulking or whining about it, Tebow got to work. Using the media’s criticisms as motivation, he switched up the same mechanics that earned him a college scholarship and two national championships.
As hard of a worker as he is on the field, Tebow works equally hard to keep a clean image off of it. For example, ESPN’s Matthew Berry recently shared a story where a friend gave him an opportunity to meet the former college star at a party. Berry, a fantasy football analyst, got about what he expected. After sharing with Tebow what he did for a living along with some other small talk, they went their separate ways. Nothing out of the ordinary for someone who regularly meets NFL stars. That was until they passed by each other on Berry’s way out. Assuming Tebow most likely forgot or never really cared about their conversation, Berry expected a head nod or quick “goodbye.” Instead Berry received a gracious, “Hey Matthew. It was really great to meet you. Good luck with the podcast this year!”
It’s the little things like this that got Tebow to where he is today. Not only is he humble and down-to-earth, but he’s also a flat-out winner and one of the hardest workers you will find. These types of personalities are not easy to come by. Even though he isn’t a superstar in terms of production, Tebow was the idea behind this search for the NBA’s nicest, most humble and well-liked superstars that still have a winning drive.
Not only do they share a first name, but Tebow and Duncan also share qualities that should be found in every champion. Boasting four rings, you’ve never once heard Duncan claim that he’s going to win, “not one, not two, not three.” Off the court, he keeps a low profile as well. Staying away from the limelight – although it might not be the hardest thing to do in San Antonio – Duncan has become an active philanthropist. He originated The Tim Duncan Foundation to raise general health awareness and fund education and youth sports in places all around the United States. He has also taken less than maximum contracts so the Spurs organization can afford hefty raises for his teammates and friends, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Duncan is an unrestricted free agent this year and we’ll likely see more of the same. The definition of a team player, he will one day retire as a multiple championship winner and one of the most humble guys to every play the game.
Although he doesn’t have any titles in college or pro ball, Durant is as humble a superstar as you will find. The four-year veteran has already brought the Oklahoma City Thunder from the basement to the Western Conference Finals and his ceiling is sky high. Known as one of the NBA’s nicest guys, Durant is constantly giving his time and money to the less fortunate. Anybody can attend or donate to a charity event, but Durant also brings the kindness home with him. Who else plays in a college flag football game on a whim? And then stays there afterwards signing autographs for all the shocked students? Kids who live in the neighborhood often ring the doorbell just to see if he can chat for a while and Durant is never hesitant to answer, even during playoff time. Back in his Texas days, Durant was scheduled to be on the cover of Dime. Rather than be on the cover alone, he refused to pose unless all of his starting teammates could join him. Durant’s also owed a lot of credit for his dedication to a smaller market team. While superstars were changing uniforms ad nauseum last summer, Durant remained committed to Oklahoma City, inking a five-year $86 million extension to stay in the league’s 25th-ranked market.