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Tim Duncan announced his retirement from basketball on Monday, marking the end of an incredible 19-year run that saw him win two MVP awards and five NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs.
In honor of Duncan’s retirement, the NBA world – coaches, players, and fans alike – are sharing their favorite memories from Duncan’s inimitable career. They’re all great, but two in particular stand out as best encapsulating the Tim Duncan experience.
First is a story from Draymond Green, who shared a fun memory about trying, and failing, to talk trash against Duncan on the court.
From Green (via ESPN’s The Undefeated):
“My rookie year I kind of talked junk to everybody. In the middle of the game I started talking to Tim, and I had already got into it with somebody on their team. I don’t remember who it was. But I started talking to Tim and he kind of just stared at me. I just kept talking junk to him and he kept staring at me.
“At that point I realized during the rest of my career that I might as well not talk to him. Either, one, he is not going to talk back because he has no respect for me. Or, two, he is not going to talk back because that is who he is. Or, three, both. I figured then that was the last time I would talk junk to Tim. And that was the last time.”
Duncan was a lot of things in the NBA – a prolific scorer, an avant-garde fashion icon – but he was never a big trash talker. Instead, he always felt something more like a coach or mentor, as former NBA center Etan Thomas shared on his Facebook on Monday:
If ever there were a player to earnestly offer advice to an opponent in the middle of a game, it would be Duncan.