Saturday, May 3, 2003

Duncan wins second straight MVP

By Chris Sheridan
The Associated Press

Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs has won the balloting for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award, The Associated Press learned Saturday.

Duncan becomes the first player since Michael Jordan in 1991 and 1992 to win the league's most coveted individual award in consecutive seasons.

The San Antonio Express-News was the first news organization to learn of Duncan's selection, reporting the news on its Web site early Saturday. A basketball source with knowledge of the final vote totals, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to the AP that Duncan had indeed won the award.

An official announcement is to be made Sunday on ABC.

Duncan led the Spurs to the league's best record, 60-22, while averaging 23.3 points and career highs in rebounds (12.9), assists (3.9) and blocks (2.92).

He beat a number of worthy candidates, including Minnesota's Kevin Garnett, Orlando's Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson of Philadelphia and Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal of the three-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Writers and broadcasters from the 29 NBA cities voted on the MVP award, sending their ballots in at the conclusion of the regular season.

Duncan is the seventh player to win the award in consecutive seasons, joining Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.

Duncan will receive his trophy one day before the Spurs open the second round of the playoffs against the Lakers.

Los Angeles has knocked San Antonio out of the postseason in each of the past two seasons, needing only four games to do so in 2000-01 and five games to do it last season.

Duncan, in his sixth NBA season, will be a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 2004. He was supposed to be on the 2000 Olympic team a year after winning the NBA championship with the Spurs, but an injury forced him to withdraw from the squad that won the gold medal in Sydney.

Duncan, 27, is a five-time All-Star and was chosen Most Valuable Player of the 1999 NBA Finals.

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