Just under two weeks since winning his 5th NBA title, San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan is still relishing the rewards as he makes a visit on Late Night with David Letterman.
Duncan and Dave talk a variety of topics, including the San Antonio Spurs team, Greg Popovich, and even shenanigans in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Highlights of the interview are transcribed below.
On the Spurs’ Team Concept
(In a league driven by superstars and individual play, the Spurs are highly accoladed for their team effort.)
Letterman: The difference between what you’re doing and what the rest of the league is doing: the difference is great, small?
Duncan: It’s not that great. Obviously, it’s about talent, and you got to put the right people in the right place. We’ve been blessed to have a mixture of both. We have great talent — we have Manu and Tony who’ve been there for a long time, we added a bunch of young guys — the MVP Kawhi and Danny Green, and we add all these different pieces and Pops’ done it over the years, and then we all buy into the fact that we don’t care who does it; we just want to win.
On Greg Popovich
(Spurs coach and considered the best coach in the NBA, Popovich is also a popular personality due to a blatant bluntness of his that once even drove reporter Doris Burke to tears.)
Letterman: What’s his(Popovich) deal? How does he know these things?
Duncan: I don’t know. He just knows. He makes the right decisions. He does it over and over again, so I’ve just got to think he actually knows what he’s doing.
On the Spur’s Abundance of Foreign Players
(The Spurs are well known for their oft-drafting of foreign players and the diversity of nationalities on their team.)
Letterman: Who knows “lets go after a guy in Italy”, or “lets go after a guy in France”; who knows that?
Duncan: I always give Pop a lot of junk, because for the last 10, 12 years, we have the draft and I always tell everybody, “I’m not watching, I’m not looking, I don’t care”, and every year I end up sitting there watching. Every year we draft some guy whose name I don’t know or can’t pronounce, and the chances of me seeing him on 50/50. But, over the last couple of years you look at our roster and these are the guys that we’ve drafted. We’ve left them overseas, or we’ve developed them in house, and these guys have turned out to be real players.
On Game 1 of the NBA Finals
(Game 1 was infamous for a power failure as well as a cramping injury that sent Miami Heat superstar Lebron James out of the final minutes of the game.)
Letterman: The game when the air conditioning went off — who was responsible for that? Was that Popovich?
Duncan: I don’t know; I cannot comment on that.
Letterman: Lebron James with the cramps and so forth; as a player you have to be sympathetic to him.
Duncan: Absolutely. The same thing happened to me years back in a Game 7. So, I know it wasn’t a joke. We just wanted to win the game; we weren’t worried about what’s happening to him.