Young Tim Duncan’s take on Michael Jordan is surprising but definitely on-brand

Tim Duncan, #21, San Antonio Spurs (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
Tim Duncan, #21, San Antonio Spurs (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Tim Duncan sounded old beyond his years when he provided a lukewarm evaluation of Michael Jordan back in 1998. 

If you were wondering whether Tim Duncan’s stoic, almost machine-like nature was innate to his being or instead cultivated through years of service under Gregg Popovich, you now have your answer. In a recently rediscovered interview with Dan Patrick, the Big Fundamental sounded like something adjacent to a white-haired curmudgeon when asked about the one and only Michael Jordan.

Tim Duncan says he wasn’t impressed by Michal Jordan, or anyone else for that matter.

“There really isn’t anyone in the world I’m impressed with”? Man. That’s a bar. It’s basically the thesis statement of Kendrick Lamar’s verse on “Control.”

I’m prepared to say that even Coach Pop wouldn’t have been so uncharitable and emotionless when discussing the GOAT. Whatever that thing is inside Duncan that makes him roll the way he does, it was already there well before he first showed up in San Antonio as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft.

Radiocarbon dating may or may not reveal that this ethos was instilled thousands of years before. We just don’t know right now.

This is even more reason to rue never having been able to see the Bulls run it back in 1998-99 and make a run at that seventh ring. In that lockout-shortened season, it was Duncan and David Robinson’s Spurs that prevailed and won the big one — MJ being as petty and vengeful as he is, that would have been one hell of a series, the kind that would require a documentary series all it’s own.

Working title: “Murder on the Last Dance Floor.”

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