A Look Back at the World When Allen, Duncan Debuted

Ray Allen made his NBA debut in 1996 and Tim Duncan made his in 1997. How different were things when they began their careers?

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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Nearly 20 years after entering the NBA, Ray Allen and Tim Duncan are still going strong as top-caliber players in the midst of a Finals battle. Their age seems irrelevant when it comes time to contend for a championship, and it’s easy to forget just how long these Future Hall of Famers have been leaving it all on the court.

The reality is, though, a lot has changed since they entered the league in the 90s. To appreciate the longevity of their careers, take a look back at when Allen made his NBA debut on November 1, 1996 and Duncan on October 31, 1997.

Reigning NBA MVP
Allen debut: Michael Jordan
Duncan debut: Karl Malone

Defending NBA Champions
Allen: Chicago Bulls
Duncan: Chicago Bulls

Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year
Allen: Damon Stoudamire
Duncan: Allen Iverson

Gregg Popovich
Allen: Spurs executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager
Duncan: Spurs head coach

LeBron James
Allen: 11 years old
Duncan: 12 years old

Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins
Allen: 1 year old
Duncan: 2 years old

Sports Illustrated Cover Story
Allen: “Tiger!”
Duncan: “Coach Larry Bird”

No. 1 Billboard Hot 100
Allen: Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) by Los Del Rio
Duncan: Candle In The Wind 1997 by Elton John

Hot in Theaters
Allen: Romeo + Juliet
Duncan: I Know What You Did Last Summer

Popular Video Games
Allen: Resident Evil
Duncan: Grand Theft Auto

Motor Trend Car of the Year
Allen: Dodge Caravan
Duncan: Chevy Malibu

Average Cost of a Gallon of Gas
Allen: $1.26
Duncan: $1.20

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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