Tony Parker says Tim Duncan was the ‘most coachable great player of all-time’
The San Antonio Spurs have had a long-storied reputation for reaping the most out of the NBA Draft, selecting underrated talent and germinating it over time, later blooming as franchise cogs that have played a vital part in their success.
Tony Parker was one of them, and while he said goodbye to the Spurs after 17 seasons in San Antonio, he thanked the fan base for their relentless support throughout the years during a heartfelt piece in The Players’ Tribune.
The former Spurs floor general explained how franchise icon Tim Duncan flourished into a cornerstone talent in the league and a catalyst for coach Gregg Popovich and company.
“People would always ask about why the guys on our teams were so coachable — about how we always seemed to squeeze nearly the best results possible from any player who came through our organization. And how, when new guys would come here, they would seem to just sort of magically get better, you know, or transform their work ethic, or get rid of this one flaw that had been holding their game back. And I tell people, always, that this wasn’t magic. I tell them that we had an elite coaching staff, an elite training staff, sure. I tell them that we obviously had a one-of-a-kind head coach in Pop. But if you want to know the thing that set us apart the most in these situations? It’s Timmy, man. It really was Timmy. Simple as that.
Because here’s the thing with Tim Duncan: Was he the greatest player of all time? I don’t know — he’s the greatest I ever played with, I’ll say that, and I’ll let the experts take it from there. But here’s one thing I’ll tell you, absolutely: Timmy was the most coachable great player of all time”
Tim Duncan’s work ethic is legendary, always making every practice, meeting, and film session — but his unselfishness also reaches galactic levels, humble in approach and willing to make concessions for the betterment of the team.
As tales often have it, The Big Fundamental would take harsh criticism from Popovich, which made others in the Spurs just as accountable, falling in line rather easily after seeing the star player was receiving the same treatment.
Duncan’s willingness to do this made him not only the ultimate teammate but an indispensable asset for Popovich to build the Spurs’ dynasty.