Two NBA players told great stories about what it was like to face Tim Duncan on the court

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 honour of Duncan’s retirement, the NBA world — coaches, players, and fans alike — are sharing their favourite 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 on court against Duncan.

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 realised 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 Monday to his Facebook:


If ever there were a player to earnestly offer advice to an opponent in the middle of a game, it would be Tim Duncan. 

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