Fundamental greatness: The oral history of Tim Duncan
Joyce Park stashed this in The Sporting Life
I have always said that if you don't appreciate Tim Duncan, you are not a real basketball fan. Whenever I see him destroy some opponent on the box with his precise footwork and trademark bank shot, I feel so happy! For those looking forward to what could be the last series of his fabled career, here is a deliciously long wallow in the greatness of the Big Fundamental.
Also amazing how lucky the Spurs were to get him:
There was zero question that Duncan was the top pick in 1997. The only drama was which franchise would have the privilege of taking him. Boston had the best chance of winning the lottery at 28 percent — odds good enough to entice Rick Pitino to leave the University of Kentucky for the mere chance of re-building the Celtics around Duncan. The Spurs, having fallen to 20-62 in an injury-plagued season, had even slimmer odds at 22 percent.
Popovich: “We were in a big tent that was next to the studios and they called us to go sit in the stands. I didn’t go in because there was no way we had a chance to get the No. 1 pick. I just stayed in the tent where the food and the beer were. I’m the only guy in the tent. Everybody vacated.
“So I’m watching this little TV, eating a burger and drinking a beer and they get to the pick that was supposed to be us. But it was somebody else. I couldn’t believe it. I was so shocked that I literally dropped my hamburger on the ground. It was unbelievable. One of us was going to get Duncan.
“All these people come rushing in the tent, just rushing at me. They were congratulating me like I had done something. I didn’t do anything but eat a burger and they were rushing me telling me what a good job I had done.” (History of the Spurs, Jan Hubbard)
Doc Rivers, former Spurs point guard and TNT analyst: “Pop is the luckiest man alive.”
Brown: “When it came down to us and San Antonio, I thought to myself, this is a no-brainer. If we win, great. If San Antonio wins, it’s great for Pop. The guy was the best man at my wedding. Then, right after it was announced, I thought to myself, ‘I still love you, Pop.’ But man, what a letdown. There was such a drop-off after Duncan.” (Boston Globe)
Duncan: “I wasn’t really rooting for any team to get me. But I got up and ran around a little bit when San Antonio got me. I leaped a few couches. My brother (Lowery) had been saying San Antonio would win for months.”
Jack Diller, Spurs team president: “It’s not supposed to work this way, really. A team with the talent we have is not supposed to win the lottery and add somebody like Duncan. But the injuries put us in there.”