NBATV Spurs special provides rare insight into Popovich and Big 3
Duncan, Parker, Manu, and their future Hall-of-Fame coach sit down to talk about their special relationship and the road back to the title.
NBATV is set to premier a new special on Monday night featuring Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker talking amongst themselves. It provides a fascinating and unbelievably candid look at four people who have always been closely guarded with the media and any sort of outside perspective.
To be honest, I wasn't sure they weren't capable of speaking like this in front of a camera. I also wasn't sure that they were human to this degree. In a screener provided to CBSSports.com, the Spurs covered a range of topics, from the hurt of the 2013 Finals, to Kawhi Leonard's emergence, to the early days of each of their tenure's with the Spurs, and each of the Big 3's perspective on having Popovich as a coach.
It gets a little bit dusty in the room, to be honest.
A selection of the best quotes from the program which premiers Monday night at 9 p.m. ET.
On the hurt of losing the 2013 Finals after being up late in an elimination Game 6:
"Losing like that when everyone was ready to raise a trophy, and seeing our faces... it was so devastating." - Manu Ginobili
"I couldn't even look at you. It was so cruel what the basketball gods did." - Tony Parker to Tim Duncan
"It was worse because there were those plays that we did that could have changed this." - Tim Duncan
On what happened after the Spurs landed the No. 1 pick in the lottery of the Duncan draft:
"We'll give you anyone on our team. And we were like, OK, thanks, forget it." - Popovich
"I remember in summer league, he went to get a shot and Gregg Ostertag sent it into the tenth row. Timmy had no expression, that's just what happens. Ostertag comes across the lane and Timmy sends it into the tenth row. That's when I knew we had something special." - Pop
"I knew we were getting a guy who wasn't going to be beating his chest and doing all that stilly stuff." - Gregg Popovich, and my first thought was "Kevin Garnett?"
On the decision to trade Georg Hill for Kawhi Leonard:
"My favorite player, Georgie, we gave him up for Kawhi." - Gregg Popovich
"I wasn't very happy that we traded George. He was such a big part of us, and to give him up for a rookie?! I was at dinner with Tim..." -Manu
"Manu said 'I can't believe we gave up Georgie for him.' I said 'Well, maybe he saw something.'"
"Yeah, because you said the exact same thing about Manu." - Popovich to Duncan, laughing.
"One time in his rookie season, I asked Manu 'Why do you do that, what are you?' and he said 'I am Manu. This is what I do.' And from that day on, we pretty much let him do what he does." - Popovich
On the Spurs' system:
"Tim said to me the other day, 'We have good people at heart.'" - Tony Parker
"The selfish person sits, no matter the talent level. You gotta be willing to sit the guy and he's got to know you're willing to sit the guy. Otherwise it didn't work." - Popovich
"The cool part is old teammates calling and saying 'We miss what we had there.' That's huge validation for us, and our decisions to stay and what we've built." - Tim Duncan
""You've made me a better man on and off the court and that's why I love being here. Because you care about us and it's not just about basketball. It's very rare to have someone like that. When I talk to other guys, it jst doesn't exist." - Tony Parker in an emotional moment to Popovich. Pop did not cry.
"You can only get so much satisfaction out of the ball going through the hoop. There's got to be more. And because they are who they are and they let me get involved in their lives, it's a real joy for me because of that." - Popovich
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