San Antonio Spurs great and new Hall of Famer Tim Duncan had special thanks for head coach Gregg Popovich in his induction speech.
Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich are one of the greatest duos in sports history.
It’s only fitting that Duncan spent some time thanking Popovich during his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
“You showed up after I got drafted. You came to my island. You sat with my friends and my family. You talked with my dad,” Duncan said. “I thought that was normal. It’s not.”
Popovich made an impression on Duncan that went far beyond his teachings on the court.
“You are an exceptional person. Thank you for teaching me about basketball. But even beyond that, teaching me that it’s not all about basketball, that it’s about what’s happening in the world, about your family,” Duncan said.
You’d expect nothing less from two of the classiest class acts in sports today.
Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich were an amazing duo for the Spurs
The connection between Duncan and Popovich led to an incredible run of success for the San Antonio Spurs.
Popovich was hired as head coach in 1996. The Spurs drafted Duncan with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. They went on to win five NBA championships together as Duncan racked up 15 All-Star appearances, 15 All-NBA nods, three Finals MVPs and two NBA MVP awards.
When Duncan retired in 2016, there was no question he’d end up voted into the Hall of Fame as soon as he was eligible.
Popovich is in his 25th season coaching in San Antonio. He’s not in the Hall of Fame yet himself, but it’s only a matter of time. Then he’ll have the chance to repay Duncan the favor by lathering him with praise during his induction speech.