By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Throughout his career, Tim Duncan gave the toughest battles a player can face on the court. Games that decided championships, “win-or-go” and knockout matches. Situations where a whole year was on the line.
Yet he never, ever felt as nervous as he did during his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement speech.
“I’ve been through Finals, through Game 7s, and this officially is the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve been pacing in my room all day, so let’s see what we get,” Duncan said. He then talked about fellow Spurs great David Robinson who presented him before his speech.
“People always ask, ‘What did he tell you? What did he show you? I don’t remember one thing we sat down and talked about specifically. But what he did was he was a consummate pro, he was an incredible father, he was an incredible person, and he showed me how to be a good teammate, a great person to the community, all those things. Not by sitting there and telling me how to do it, but by being that.”
Duncan thanked fellow Hall of Fame inductees Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett and explained how his parents impacted his career despite their “zero basketball knowledge.
“But they taught me about the game more than anyone else,” Duncan said. “You heard the mantra that my mom instilled in me – good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better is your best – they told me, and made me, have pride in everything I did.”
To look to your left and look to your right and have the same guys there year in and year out is unbelievable,” Duncan said while talking about his longtime teammates and partners in championship-winning Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. “It’s a blessing beyond what I can put into words. Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, I can’t wait to see you guys up here and for me to not be up here. It was an honor sharing the court with you guys. Thank you for your friendship, thank you for your brotherhood, thank you for all of the experiences that we shared on that court.”
Duncan saved Gregg Popovich for last but definitely not least. “I don’t want to talk about him. He’s going to get mad at me if I talk about him,” he said. He then went emotional when he talked about Pop’s influence and lessons.
“The standard you set … you showed up after I got drafted, you came to my island, you sat with my friends, my family, you talked with my dad. I thought that was normal. It’s not. You’re an exceptional person.
“Thank you for teaching me about basketball but, beyond that, teaching me that it’s not all about basketball. It’s about what’s going on in the world, your family … just, for everything. Thank you for being the amazing human being that you are.”