Some photos don’t need captions, words, letters. Just David Robinson giving Tim Duncan a big ol’ hug after the San Antonio Spurs win another NBA title. The best twin tower pair in the history of the league owe success to each other, although the Admiral probably owes Timmy a bit more.
Robinson was one of the best players in the NBA for nearly a decade before he broke his foot early in the 1996-1997 season, leading to a terrible Spurs season. Just like a horrible record got them Robinson in the 1987 NBA draft, having to wait for him a couple of years before he finished his Navy obligations, so did that terrible season lead to the arrival of Tim Duncan.
When Duncan came from Wake Forest in 1997, Robinson was 32, with a bad back. Duncan took so much off of the Admiral, as the two created a fearsome duo in the paint, winning the NBA title in 1999 and again in 2003, when Robinson was on a steep decline. He made sacrifices when it came to his shots and standing as the team’s biggest star, but things don’t work that way in San Antonio, as we’ve learned over the years.
It’s about doing it for the team, and only those kind of players survive and succeed under Popovich. Robinson cleared the way for Duncan to become the team’s primary scorer, while his minuted dropped and he continued to be just as effective on the glass and on defense, averaging over 2 blocks per game in all but his final two seasons in the league, when he was playing less than 30 minutes a night.
After the title in 2003, Robinson retired, later making it into the hall of fame. Tim Duncan is still out there with four NBA rings, trying to win a fifth with two teammates who were just getting started in the 2002-2003 season. In a league that’s mostly about the me and the individual, it’s always great to see players giving up money and stats for the benefit of success, although it sometimes gets misinterpreted by the help of the media. There’s nothing to misinterpret about this photo here.