LeBron James passed another milestone when winning one more playoff game than San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan, and he gave props to Tim afterward.
From the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat, LeBron James has had numerous playoff battles against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. While the two superstars have wildly different personalities, they’ve always had mutual respect for one another, which continued on Saturday after the Lakers took a 2-1 series lead over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Duncan and James have combined for eight NBA titles and 15 NBA Finals appearances since 1999, establishing themselves as the most successful pair of NBA superstars in the last two decades. Through 20 regular season games against each other, Duncan and James finished with an even 10-10 split, but The Big Fundamental finished with an 11-5 edge in playoff games against The King.
With a 116-108 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, LeBron reached another all-time mark when the win gave him his 158th career playoff victory, giving him one more than Duncan’s postseason-less career.
When he was asked about what that feat meant, LeBron didn’t hesitate to give kudos to his frequent rival.
“He lived in the postseason,” said James when asked about passing Tim. “That was his address. For me to be linked with The Big Fundamental, it means a lot.”
The accomplishment now puts LeBron within four games of becoming the all-time leader in playoff wins, which Spurs fans should be rooting for when you consider who’s currently in first: Derek Fisher.
Besides his “The Decision” ESPN special in which he announced he was going to be “taking his talents to South Beach,” LeBron has shown humility throughout his career, which has been especially evident as he’s aged. Despite being just swept 4-0 by Duncan and the Spurs in 2007, he still was in good spirits when he met up with Tim in the tunnel after Game 4.
There’s always been mutual admiration between not only James and Duncan, but James and the entire Spurs organization. LeBron and Gregg Popovich have always had a close relationship, and Coach Pop will probably be one of the first to congratulate him on his newest record.
While he used to be a fierce rival, LeBron has always had a lot of respect for the San Antonio Spurs, and their fans should return in kind. Congratulations on the new feat, LeBron. Please do us all a favor and pass up Derek Fisher on the all-time list. After that, though, feel free to retire with five or fewer rings.