Tim Duncan isn’t impressed by pretty much anyone. Not even Michael Jordan.
That shouldn’t come as a particular surprise. Duncan’s unassuming nature and lengthy list of NBA accolades don’t make him one likely to stand in awe of the greatness of others.
But apparently, in an interview with Dan Patrick — from 1998, no less — the Spurs star was pretty brazen in his (respectful) dismissal of Jordan. These quotes, via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, were delivered after Duncan’s rookie season, which aligned with the Bulls’ final title run recently depicted in ESPN’s “The Last Dance.”
Patrick: … You met Jordan?
Duncan: But Jordan’s Jordan. I’ve always respected him but I’ve never been a fan of his.
Patrick: Why aren’t you a fan of Jordan’s?
Duncan: Because everybody else is.
Patrick: Oh, so you don’t like Michael Jordan because everybody else does.
Duncan: No, I don’t like Michael Jordan because I don’t like Michael Jordan. You got me wrong there. I respect Michael Jordan.
Patrick: You respect him. You just don’t like him?
Duncan: I’m just somebody that isn’t impressed by him. There really isn’t anyone in the world I’m impressed with. (Except, maybe, for Stephon Marbury, who Duncan later listed, along with Shareef Abdur-Rahim, as his favorite players in the league to watch.)
But, yeah. Tell us how you really feel, Timmy.
It’s certainly a departure from the perpetual lauding of Jordan that’s become the norm over the decades since his retirement — especially from fellow NBA greats. But at the end of the day, you absolutely have to respect the level of brand-conscious indifference, to something seemingly everyone else loves, exhibited by Duncan here. Contrarians unite.