Spurs: Top 10 opponent quotes about Tim Duncan
8. Kevin Garnett's trash-talk doesn't affect Tim Duncan
While nothing has ever been fully verified and documented, I don't think it would be a stretch to say that Tim Duncan didn't particularly like Kevin Garnett. In a column for Yahoo Sports in 2012 titled Tim Duncan Hates Kevin Garnett, Apparently, Eric Freeman shared a second-hand account of Duncan's diplomatic answer when asked if he developed a kinship with Garnett after years of showdowns.
"Define kinship," Duncan responded after a lengthy pause and grin. The tumultuous rivalry began in 1998 and spanned 18 years, with several thrilling clashes taking place over their 52-game history. To get an idea of Garnett's antics, pay attention to the replay of this incident in the 1999 playoffs - the first postseason series the two would play.
In it, Joe Smith and David Robinson get into a scuffle, prompting teammates from both sides to rush over. For no apparent reason, Garnett smacks Duncan in the back of the head while jawing at him. Garnett did things like this throughout his career, which makes his admission on an episode of All the Smoke even more enjoyable.
"What really, really, really pissed me off was when the trash-talking wasn't affecting him," said Garnett. "So you're spending all this energy trying to rile him up. You forgot about your own game. That's when I quit talking trash to Timmy, cause he wouldn't respond."
Just as Draymond learned years later, Garnett learned it was pointless to try to get under Duncan's skin because he was going to drop 25 and 15 on you regardless. Even better, Kevin also spoke about Tim's secret, quiet trash-talk, which you can see in the clip below.
Tim Duncan ended his NBA career with a 33-19 record over Garnett, who will also be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on May 15th.
7. "Tim Duncan was a guy I could never break." - Shaquille O'Neal
The Los Angeles Lakers were The Big Three's biggest rival throughout their reign, as each team undoubtedly prevented the other from multiple additional championships. Between 1999 and 2013, the two powerhouses faced off in the postseason seven times, with the Lakers holding the 4-3 edge.
At the center of these classic battles were two of the greatest big men ever to play the game. One used physical dominance and power to impose his will while the other relied on finesse and fundamentals. Both strategies were equally effective in their respective careers as they ended with a combined total of nine rings.
Much like Garnett, Shaq frequently tried to wear his opponents down mentally as well as physically. He would often get in the face of opponents, boasting it worked on almost everybody. In a segment of his book, Uncut, O'Neal revealed why Tim was an exception.
“The Spurs won because of Tim Duncan, a guy I could never break," said O'Neal. "I could talk trash to Patrick Ewing, get in David Robinson’s face, get a rise out of Alonzo Mourning, but when I went at Tim he’d look at me like he was bored and then say, ‘Hey, Shaq, watch this shot right here off the glass.'”
There's a clear running theme here, in that Duncan's game could not be intimidated. Even the 7-foot-1, 325-pound O'Neal couldn't break Duncan's steadiness on the court.
Shaq was one of the few players that ended his career with more overall wins over Tim than losses, holding a 33-29 advantage. The two split playoff games evenly, 15-15. Shaq undoubtedly would trade all that for a fifth ring, though.