I've been sitting on this one for a while. It's from the 10 Sense with...Tim Duncan interview that appeared in the February issue of Dime Magazine. Duncan was asked which starting five, out of anybody in the NBA, he'd choose to go to war with. His answer is pretty interesting:
"My ideal starting five? Honestly, the five that Adidas put together, you can't argue with that at all. KG, T-Mac, Gilbert, Chauncy and myself. You can't argue with that five compared to anyone else. As a sixth man, I might add Kobe. Or, shit, even put Manu in there with us."
Now, Tim Duncan is the greatest winner of the last decade and the co-most dominant player alongside Shaq (although it could be argued that Shaq hasn't been truly dominant since 2004-05). And it's not just the winning, but how he's won: Four titles in nine years, while his team has changed drastically around him. The fact is, he plays "team basketball" better than probably anyone in the league (which I think is why he's so dominant without really looking dominant).
And he wouldn't want Kobe Bryant, the so-called "best player" in the league, in his starting five.
I don't know. Maybe it's not that big of an insult. After all, he left out a lot of other really good players, guys like Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Shaq, etc. And he was also plugging for Adidas, the company that pays him a lot of money to endorse their products.
But the fact that he relegated Kobe to the sixth man role, then casually replaced him with Manu Ginobili was like a backhanded insult. I mean, think about it: "I don't want you starting, but you can be sixth man. Oh, wait, no you can't...I'll take this other guy instead." Why would Tim say that? Well, maybe it has to do with one of his follow-up statements:
"I'd say 60-70 percent don't 'get it' -- players who play for the wrong reasons or teams playing the wrong way. It's those few teams that 'get it' that elevate themselves."
Maybe that's it. Maybe he, like many other people, thinks Kobe just doesn't "get it." Whatever the reason, I still got a good laugh out of it. Thanks, Tim.