Skip to main content

Tim Duncan's emotional thank you to Gregg Popovich "He's gonna get mad at me if I talk about him."


He mentioned it several times - Tim Duncan hates public appearances. When thanking his two closest teammates and friends, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, the Hall of Famers said, "I can't wait to see you guys up here, and for me not to be up here." Yet, he gave one of the best Hall of Fame speeches in recent memory.

Duncan went over his incredible journey to the Hall of Fame in his speech and sealed it off with an emotional thank you to Gregg Popovich. Duncan was a swimmer, but his career stopped abruptly at 14 when a hurricane destroyed the only Olympic-size pool on the island. The alternative was swimming in the ocean, but Duncan's (perfectly reasonable) fear of sharks stopped his swimming career. That's when he grabbed a basketball for the first time - at 14 years old. He didn't forget to point out that the two most important people in his basketball career had the least knowledge about the game.

My mom and my dad, Ione and William Duncan, a combined zero basketball knowledge - but they taught me more about the game than anyone else. 

Tim Duncan, Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech

Duncan's parents, especially his mom Ione, taught him that excellence is a daily quest - a lesson that will turn out to be important very soon. Next, his brother-in-law started teaching Tim the fundamentals of basketball and taking him to every game possible. Then Alonzo Mourning brought a group of players to promote basketball on the Virgin Islands, and one of the guys there was a Wake Forest alum who called the head coach, Dave Odom and told him he should check out a kid he saw. Allegedly, Odom got interested when he heard Duncan held his own matched up against Mourning in a 5-on-5. So the coach offered him a scholarship, and Duncan was off to Wake Forest.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

At that point, I was going to be a redshirt. I went from being a redshirt freshman, arriving at Wake Forest, getting chickenpox two weeks later, losing 20 pounds, to being a starter that exact same year. 

Tim Duncan, Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech

His teammates saw something in Duncan and told coach Odom he might want to wait with redshirting him. Four years later, Tim Duncan was the greatest player ever to play for Wake Forest University. Then came the NBA. In his 19 years with the Spurs, Duncan had 190 teammates. That number is a testament to his excellence - from being the rookie on a team with David Robinson, Avery Johnson, and Monty Williams to dominating the NBA with Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker and then mentoring Kawhi Leonard. 19 years of excellence. 

Then there was one. The moment Duncan mentioned there was only one person left to talk about, a scream echoed in the hall "POOOOP!!" Tim smiled and said, "I don't want to talk about him, he's gonna get mad if I talk about him. ... Sorry Pop." No way he doesn't talk about Pop. 

“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 were an exceptional person. Thank you for teaching me about basketball, but even beyond that, teaching me that it's not all about basketball. It's about what's happening in the world; about your family- for everything.”

Tim Duncan, Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech

We were all ready to get a bit choked up when Vanessa Bryant and Michael Jordan talk about Kobe. It turned out to happen a few more times during last night's ceremony. Tim Duncan, one of the greatest people ever to play basketball. Also, quite good at the game itself. 

WWE star Logan Paul and Dwight Howard

WWE legend Triple H’s dare to Dwight Howard: “Be like Logan Paul, Bad Bunny, Tyson Fury”

Dwight Howard doesn't just want to be a run-of-the-mill professional wrestler.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett

"I’m still a Timberwolf until I die, as I am a Celtic" - Kevin Garnett addresses rift with Minnesota Timberwolves

Kevin Garnett is not in good terms with the Minnesota Timberwolves but his love for the city has never changed.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love

"It's a way to really challenge yourself" — Kevin Love talks about the hardest workout he's ever done

Kevin Love revealed the hardest workout he has ever done and it doesn't have anything to do with basketball.

BYU Cougars guard Jimmer Fredette shoots over San Diego State Aztecs forward Kawhi Leonard

“He said some things” — Jimmer Fredette on Kawhi Leonard's trash talk

En route to a 72-54 win, Kawhi Leonard approached Jimmer Fredette and talked smack to him.


Boban Marjanovic doesn't think LeBron James is "the strongest player" in the league: 'It depends on what you measure'

Boban Marjanovic thinks it's impossible to hail LeBron James or anybody as the strongest player in the league there are a lot of factors to consider in measuring strength.

Yao Ming & Steve Francis

"It was me who was bothered by it" - Steve Francis on Yao Ming's transition to NBA

Steve Francis thought Yao Ming will succumb to the pressures of being an NBA star, but he was proven wrong.


The Sixers reportedly almost drafted Kobe Bryant to team up with Allen Iverson in 1996

Drafting Kobe and AI in the same draft would've been the best draft a team had in NBA history.


"Leaders don't do that" — When Kobe Bryant shared why Shaquille O'Neal is not the leader of the Lakers

Kobe Bryant said Shaquille O'Neal didn't even reach out to him amid his legal battle.