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Bill Russell on Tim Duncan's place among bigs: 'Right up there at the top'

By James Herbert | NBA writer

Tim Duncan is now the first player to win an NBA championship in three decades, and the San Antonio Spurs big man's status as one of the best to ever play the game was secure before he won his fifth title on Sunday. After that game, Bill Russell -- the man some argue is the best ever -- didn't hide his admiration for the future Hall of Famer, via USA Today's Sam Amick:

The legendary big man pulled on Duncan's sweaty jersey until he finally turned around, and two of the game's greats embraced in a shared moment of mutual respect. And then, the former Boston Celtics great whose record of 11 titles will likely never be beat made the most poignant and powerful observation of the night about what this all meant for Duncan's place in history among the game's greatest bigs.

"Right up there at the top," Russell told USA TODAY Sports.

Duncan passed Kareem Abdul-Jabaar's all-time record for playoff minutes in these Finals, and Magic Johnson's record for postseason double-doubles. He's the greatest player of his generation, and he's still, somehow, a dominant defender at 38 years old. He's probably not done yet, but it's a fine time to take a moment and appreciate his consistent brilliance.

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