Tim Duncan and Bill Russell share an incredible moment where the latter tells him that he’s his favorite player while talking about Jackie Robinson.
Tim Duncan is undoubtedly one of the most underappreciated players the NBA has ever seen. The San Antonio Spurs legend won 2 MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, and 5 total championships, along with countless All-NBA, All-Defensive, and All-Star selections. Unfortunately, people don’t view the ‘Big Fundamental’ the same way as they view players who’ve actually accomplished less.
If someone were to compare Tim Duncan to a past NBA legend, Bill Russell would most definitely come to mind. Sure, Russell was more athletic than Duncan but the latter made up for it by refining his post moves and mid-range game. It’s no question that ‘Timmy D’ was the greatest post player the game has ever seen.
The similarities between Bill Russell and the Spurs icon rack up on the defensive end of the floor. Both were incredible at timing blocks and keeping the ball in play rather than swatting it into the stands to reset the play. The two were also great vertical spacers on that end of the floor with quick hands and so it was great to see the two interact with one another.
Tim Duncan and Bill Russell talk about how the latter feels about Duncan.
Tim Duncan would have a one-on-one chat with Bill Russell in 2009 where they would talk about Russell’s dominance in the late 50s and 60s and also about how he feels about Duncan. Being the incredibly articulate man that he is, the Celtics legend gives an incredible analogy on how he views Tim.
“When Jackie Robinson died, his wife called me and asked me to be a pallbearer at Jackie’s funeral. I said of course, but I asked why? She said you were Jackie’s favorite athlete and that’s the same way I feel about you. Play hard, play smart, and won championships,” said Bill Russell.
Russell would always tell Tim Duncan that he knows he can get one more championship and Tim promised to get one more in honor of Bill. Fast-forward five years later and he came through with this promise and beat the Miami Heat in 5 games, earning Duncan his fifth championship.