If you were offered a multi-million dollar contract to play your favorite sport, chances are you'd take it in a heartbeat. That's the case with basketball superstar Tim Duncan—except he turned it down thanks to a very special promise to his late mother.
Duncan was born and raised in Christiansted, a small town on Saint Croix (a main island in the United States Virgin Islands). He was a star swimmer through his early teenage years and aimed to make the 1992 Olympic Games. However, after a hurricane destroyed the island's only Olympic-sized pool in 1989 he was forced to swim in the ocean and quickly lost his enthusiasm for swimming due to sharks. He turned to basketball.
His mother passed away right before his 14th birthday and made him promise to earn a college degree in her final days. Of course, he willingly accepted his mother's dying wish. He excelled at Wake Forest University and was named one of the most eligible NBA prospects in his sophomore season. He refused to enter the draft early, despite the league introducing a rookie salary cap the following year, costing him a lot of money.
He graduated with a college degree and made himself available for the 1997 NBA Draft where he was drafted first by the San Antonio Spurs.