The Best Swimmers Are In The NBA

It’s true… Too bad the spoils will never lure them to the pool… 

Describe the physical gifts of your perfect swimmer. He’s gotta be tall. Huge hands and feet. Must possess both explosiveness and a light touch, or feel for the sport. Oh, and he must be hyper competitive. Sound like anyone you know? Maybe the stars of last night’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals?

Much has been made of Michael Phelps having the ideal swimmer’s physique. As Bob Costas intoned in this NBC feature from 2008, ‘if you were to build the perfect swimmer, the finished product would look just like this.’ Ok, fair enough. No arguing with the results. But what if his opponent was nine inches taller; had even bigger ‘dinner plate’ sized hands; size 16 feet; and a childhood of equal aquatic immersion.

Like, say Tim Duncan? You probably already know the story about how Spurs’ legend Tim Duncan was a swimmer first, growing up in St. Croix. If not, here’s a quick refresher. He was a very good one. A 200 and 400 freestyler who had serious Olympic potential. His sister, Tricia, was an Olympian in 1988. But then Hurricane Hugo destroyed his swim team’s pool, and the 14-year-old Duncan turned to hoops. Safe to say he made the right choice. Over the course of his 16-year NBA career, Duncan has amassed a net worth of around $200 million. Phelps is a rich man, but he will never get anywhere close to that figure. In fact, by NBA standards, he’s paid somewhere in the range of a bench-riding role player.

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