Tim Duncan

Remember when Tim Duncan dismissed Michael Jordan in a 1998 interview?

Remember when Tim Duncan dismissed Michael Jordan in a 1998 interview?

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.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Art19

Jerry Krause had plans to sign Grant Hill, Tim Duncan and Tracy McGrady in 2000

Jerry Krause had plans to sign Grant Hill, Tim Duncan and Tracy McGrady in 2000

“And the Bulls started to rebuild.”

Those words emblazoned across the screen to end “The Last Dance” served as a reminder of the fate that awaited the franchise after the dynasty’s splintering. Michael Jordan retired again, Scottie Pippen embarked on a sign-and-trade to the Rockets, Phil Jackson slunk into hiatus and various role players departed by way of trade or release. The team won a combined 30 games over the next two years.

But, apparently, in the summer of 2000, Jerry Krause had a plan to catapult the Bulls back to prominence — light years ahead of schedule. 

Appearing on The Platform Basketball Podcast, Jamal Crawford detailed the scheme, which involved signing either two or all three of Grant Hill, Tim Duncan and Tracy McGrady.

“My rookie year, Jerry (Krause) thought he was gonna get Grant Hill, Tim Duncan and Tracy McGrady,” Crawford said on the show. “So, obviously, MJ just retired, right. We have all this cap space. And so we have all these rookies, and — go back and look, I guarantee you Grant, Tim and TMac were all free agents. And Jerry wholeheartedly believed we would get all three of them.”

Indeed, Duncan, McGrady and Grant Hill were all eligible to be signed that summer, and the Bulls sat “roughly $18 million” under the $35.5 million salary cap — primed and ready to strike.

Their courting of McGrady, specifically, involved meeting the 21-year-old at the airport upon his Chicago arrival with a band, the Luvabull dancers, Benny the Bull and chanting fans — a spectacle that prompted then-Orlando Sentinel columnist *checks notes* Skip Bayless to term them the “Hooterville Bulls.”

Of course, none came to fruition. Hill and McGrady teamed up with the Orlando Magic, but injuries quickly derailed their hopes of glory. Duncan re-upped in San Antonio and spearheaded one of the greatest dynasties in modern sports over the next decade-and-a-half.

The Bulls’ biggest free agent acquisition that summer was Ron Mercer on a four-year, $27 million deal. They flipped Mercer in February 2002, and finished above-.500 just twice in the aughts.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan highlight decorated Hall of Fame class

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan highlight decorated Hall of Fame class

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced its official Class of 2020 on Saturday. And my word is it stacked:

Headlined by Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and the late Kobe Bryant, this is one of the most star-studded classes in history. Also set to be honored: 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings, three-time NCAA-champion coach Kim Mulkey, five-time Division II National Coach of the Year Barbara Stevens, four-time National Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton, two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich and longtime FIBA executive Patrick Baumann.

There are some Chicago ties in here, too. Garnett famously spent a year of his high school career at Farragut Career Academy on the West Side of Chicago, receiving McDonald's All-American and national player of the year honors in 1995. Catchings won an IHSA Division AA state title as a freshman and Ms. Illinois Basketball as a sophomore in a stint at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire before embarking on her illustrious college and WNBA career.

And Tomjanovich, of course, coached the Houston Rockets teams that won the only two non-Bulls titles from 1991-1998 — teams that current Bulls coach Jim Boylen served as an assistant with

As of this writing, the Class of 2020 is set to be officially enshrined in Springfield, Mass., on Aug. 29.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.