Lest it be said that Gregg Popovich never left a man behind, especially if that man’s name is Tim, The Big Fundamental, Old Man Riverwalk, The Stone Buddha, Duncan. Or just Tim Duncan is fine.
In an article by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe titled to make the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame seem like the basketball equivalent of The Skulls, but really outlines its voting and induction processes, one very important testament to friendship stood out. Apparently, Popovich went so far as to turn down consideration for any year of inductees until Duncan stood to be eligible.
2020 Naismith Hall of Fame Class could include: Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett & Gregg Popovich. Pop would have already been elected but refused consideration. He apparently told HOF he would accept consideration once Duncan was eligible. Well… #Spurs #Celtics #Lakers
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) September 6, 2019
Well get the matching, extra long, suits sized, because the 2020 Naismith Hall of Fame class may finally be the one to include both Pop and Duncan, the latter of whom retired during the 2016 offseason.
It’s not clear when Popovich initially outlined his requirements to the various nuanced induction committees at the Hall of Fame, since both Popovich and Duncan enjoyed such storied and permanently connected careers within the league. Was it a castaway comment made in Duncan’s rookie season? A euphoric promise after they won their first ring together, their fifth? Or was it a silent vow Pop made when Duncan retired?
However it came down to the Naismith people, there is no way they could have predicted how cinematic the year would be when they’d finally get Popovich and Duncan together, reunited not only as inductees but as colleagues. While it would be impossible to say that the San Antonio Spurs invented the very concept of destiny, on the other hand, would it?