” Thank you for making me better, makes him better, him and him and all other guys who worked with you” as Manu Ginobili said to Tim Duncan on his retirement night.
The Spurs made five titles because of Tim Duncan but the whole story is he got great teammates. David Robinson was a proven best player of the team when Duncan arrived in San Antonio. Sean Elliot had a resume of being an All-Star player back in his healthy days. They produce a title in 1999 and with an old David Robinson Spurs win one more in 2003.
People always disrespect Duncan’s legacy by discrediting him because of the presence of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. But who knows that these international prospects will be on top after multiple years of playing. The big part of Tim Duncan’s role was to sacrifice other things to make them better. Parker who’s been passed by 27 teams, while Ginobili passed twice by 29 teams until the Spurs made him available at 57.
Michael Jordan has Scottie Pippen when they win in the first three-peat. Then added Dennis Rodman a proven champion and Toni Kokuc a proven player when Jordan came back. Kobe Bryant got Shaquille O’Neal and later Pau Gasol. Both big men already All-Stars in their respective teams. On the other hand, LeBron James picks his teammates, trade those unproven rookies to a talent that can help him. These guys didn’t work hard to help their teammates better. All they need to do is to work for their chemistry.
Tim Duncan is different, it looks like he got nothing after an old David Robinson. The Spurs made a great scouting report to pick those guys. But on the court, it’s Duncan’s responsibility to make them better. The Spurs legend make sure Parker and Manu will put themselves comfortably on the court. Duncan sacrifices touch to give them a role in the offense in whatever way they think they can help. Not only Manu and Tony but all of these guys who play with Duncan who made a career. One of the best things is the chemistry works out immediately in a short period of time. The media who covered the NBA didn’t know what is coming in San Antonio.
Spurs is the only team that got a lot undrafted or second-rounders in a championship run. Imagine having the luxury of great players to be in your team and win the title. Then ESPN will declare that guy is much greater than Duncan.
When these great players have teammates of unproven, young, and some old wash guys they did nothing. Michael Jordan has multiple first rounds exits, same with Kobe Bryant who missed the postseason once. Yeah, LeBron James made the NBA Finals in 2007 but looks who they face in the East. While Tim Duncan just only beat the young tandem of Stephon Marbury and Amare Stoudemire, battled a three-time defending champion Lakers with Shaq and Kobe on their prime, faced the trifecta Dirk Nowitzki, Mike Finley, and Steve Nash in the West. Then winning a championship against a hard defensive battle against New Jersey Nets in six games.