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The greatness of Tim Duncan

“He let Gregg Popovich coach him...and coach him hard.”

1997 NBA Draft Photo by Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images

“I never thought anyone should be treated differently.”

These words spoken by Tim Duncan. Duncan is the epitome of “over himself.” It’s one thing to be good, or great, in the NBA, the highest level of basketball. But, what Tim Duncan did — allowing himself to be coached, to be a part of a team, to be chewed out equally among the roster of players — set a tone that permeated through five championships.

For those of us older Pounders, the passing of the torch from David Robinson — one of the Spurs greatest players and personalities — showed just how seamless greatness could transfer and keep a team at the top. It set the tone for all that was to come. Try and imagine what veneer the Spurs would have had if Robinson was the kind of played hanging onto his leadership until the bitter end. Imagine a great player who was going to keep the team as “his” while the young players were developing. Imagine a cocky Tim Duncan arguing with Robinson, playing out a power struggle in the media and on the court.

Can’t imagine it, right? You know why?

“There was no entitlement in him,” said Robinson.

When you calculate the amount of time an NBA player spends honing their craft, it is no wonder that attitudes develop. Yet, Duncan didn't get into the faces of his opponents, he let his game speak for him. He didn’t get into altercations, he played his heart out and left it on the court.

Duncan laid it out straight, “Nothing ever got under my skin.”

“I quick talking trash because he didn’t respond and give me the reaction I wanted,” shared Kevin Garnett, one of his most equal rivals during the era.

One of my favorite memories of Duncan was watching him hang out under the hoop after games while his teammates were being interviewed. He was the team’s leader until the end, but silent and steady.

Episode 30 of The Ring of The Rowel spotlights the cornerstone of the franchise.

Enjoy “The Big Fundamental.”

Celebrate Timmy.

And share your favorite Tim Duncan memories in the comments.

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