Caribbean centers Roy Hibbert of the Pacers and Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs
The NBA Finals could come down to a showdown between two Caribbean big men: veteran center/power forward Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs and the emerging center of the Indiana Pacers, Roy Hibbert.
At 37, Duncan is playing at a level rarely seen in the NBA. Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs just swept the Memphis Grizzlies in four games in the best of seven NBA Western Conference Finals where Duncan went up against the NBA's defensive player of the year, 28 year old center Marc Gasol.
In this years NBA finals Roy Hibbert, who seemed like a project or journeyman center when he entered the NBA, has emerged as the force to be reckoned with among NBA centers. In last night's game against the defending champions Miami Heat, where the Pacers evened the best of seven NBA Eastern Conference Finals series, Hibbert scored 23 points, had 12 rebounds, and made a huge three-point play with 1:30 remaining in the game.
Timothy "Tim" Duncan was born and raised in Christiansted, Saint Croix, in the United States Virgin Islands. The 6-foot 11-inch, 255-power forward/center is a four-time NBA champion, two-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA Finals MVP, and NBA Rookie of the Year. He is a 14 time NBA All-Star and the only player in NBA history to be selected to both All-Defensive Teams during each of his first 13 seasons.
Duncan's could be challenger, seven foot, two inch, 280 lbs, Roy Denzil Hibbert, was born in Queens, New York, USA. His father Roy, Sr. is from Jamaica and his mother Patty Hibbert is from Trinidad.
Hibbert, like one of the NBA's 50 best players, Jamaican Patrick Ewing, is a product of Georgetown University where he was coached by John Thompson III, son of former Georgetown coach John Thompson, who tutored NBA great centers Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo.
Hibbert has come a long way since he reportedly could not do a single push-up when he showed up at Georgetown. Hibbert has dominated the NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs so far. In the recent series against the New York Knicks, his sensational block of Carmelo Anthony (see video above) was widely regarded as deflating the New York Knicks.
Because of his parentage, Hibbert is eligible to represent Jamaica. He began playing for the Jamaica national basketball team in 2008, and was named captain of the team in 2010.
But before Hibbert can match up against Tim Duncan, the Pacers must go through a formidable Miami Heat defending NBA championship "dream" team anchored by Lebron James, the best player in the NBA, and future NBA hall of famers Dwane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
In last year's Eastern Conference semifinals, the Pacers had the Miami Heat down two games to one. It looked like they would finish off the Miami Heat but the Heat came back to win the series.
This year the Pacers are more formidable, due mainly to the dominance of Hibbert and the emergence of Paul George. They could easily have won three of the four games so far. With the series tied at two games apiece, the Pacers could yet upset the Miami heat to meet the Spurs in the finals.