December 3, 2023:
2006-07 Fleer #172 Tim Duncan
There's a song from Lil Wayne's album Tha Carter III called "Phone Home" which contains a line with a strong thematic connection to this card:
Like Mr. Clean with hair
That perfectly sums up the way I feel about the photograph on this card. Now, I may not have been paying close enough attention to the NBA at this point (after all, my team was in the middle of a dismal decade-plus of mediocrity spanning the period after their 2001 run to the Eastern Conference Finals to the fabled 2013 NBA Draft), but I'm having trouble recalling the era where Tim Duncan had anything but a closely cropped haircut. That's all on me, though, as Google searches turn up dozens of articles focusing on little more than Duncan's changing hairstyles, especially during the past four or five years.
You look away for a minute, and all of a sudden 17 years have gone by in the blink of an eye. It's amazing what we manage to catch and how much we miss. Mortality and the persistent march of time on a basketball card.