With five blocks against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, Tim Duncan passed Kareem Abdul Jabbar as the all-time block leader in the playoffs.
Duncan is now two blocks ahead of the retired Jabbar (476) with 478 playoff blocks.
The self-forgetful Kareem congratulated Tim by tweeting,
Tim Duncan has been the epitome of steadiness & consistency his whole career. Congrats on passing me in block shots! G-luck in the Playoffs
What most people may not realize, however, is that blocks did not become an official category until 1973-1974 season. By then, Kareem had already played five seasons in the league. During three of those years, Kareem was the reigning MVP and averaged 3 bpg, including games where he posted an absurd 9 to 10 blocks.
Since blocks were not an official category during Kareem’s first 5 years, it’s hard to conjecture how many blocks Kareem recorded in the playoffs. But based upon his averages, it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that the number may have been somewhere between 80-100.
Make no mistake; what Tim Duncan has achieved is no small feat. In fact, there isn’t a current player that is even close to being in the top 5 for playoff blocks. But TNT and basketball fans need to be careful of revisionist history when it comes to players who played before the modern era.