The San Antonio Spurs will honor Tim Duncan by retiring his jersey at tonight’s Spurs-Pelicans game and Gregg Popovich joined Sportscenter to talk about his relationship with the best player he ever coached. Pop opened up about Timmy and said that the two are “soulmates” off the basketball court.
“We’re more soulmates in life than we are in basketball. I’ve been on his fanny so many times throughout his 19 years, and half the time he agrees with me and half the time he thinks I’m a nut. And he just is polite enough and mature enough to just ignore me and go back out on the court, which allowed me to coach everybody else all those years. But off the court, that’s where we’re soulmates.”
Duncan has popped up at Spurs practice a handful of times, most recently to play one-on-one against Pau Gasol. Pop said that TD shows up unexpectedly and that they put a locker for him in the coach’s locker room in the practice facility:
“He jumps in and out,” Popovich said. “A little bit of scouting [to] tell us what he thinks about this player or that player. Little bit of one-on-one here and there. Little bit of coaching, what we’re doing in pick-and-roll and what we’re doing here. Just hanging around — just jumping in, putting a toe in the water, wherever he feels like it. It’s great.
“We never know [when Duncan will show up], honestly. It’s totally random. Everything is extemporaneous. He’s there or he’s not. We might walk through the building and all of a sudden he’s in there lifting weights. We put a locker for him in the coach’s locker room in the practice facility and at the AT&T Center so he comes whenever he feels like it.”