Before the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns faced each other on Saturday in a 14-point win for the Spurs, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and Suns head coach Alvin Gentry each compared their Hall of Famers to be, to each other.
Both coaches were referring to Spurs forward Tim Duncan and Suns guard Steve Nash, who both have their teams playing well just before the NBA playoffs are set to begin. Duncan and his Spurs are healthy and have a steady position on the number two seed in the West, while Nash and the Suns are trying to make a run at earning a playoff position as they are right outside the bubble.
“Steve and Tim are like carbon copies of each other,” said Popovich, “they’re like fine wine. They’re both playing in the later stages of their career, but they’re both playing great.”
“Timmy’s been 'Mr. Steady' all year long and bringing it every night,” continued Popovich, “and so has Steve.”
“The way they’re playing and their leadership, they remind me of each other, and I’m thrilled for both of them, because they’re both great guys. Our team is following Tim in that regard and the Suns are following Steve in that regard, they’re playing great basketball,” Popovich finished on the two superstar veterans.
Gentry had this to say on Nash and Duncan, “They’re probably the most low-maintenance superstars to ever play the game. Tim is just Tim, the short time I was with him, all of this NBA stuff doesn’t affect him at all, and Steve is pretty much the same way.”
“They like their teammates, they like playing, and they like the competition of it all,” continued Gentry, “but I don’t think they get caught up on who is on the NBA first team, who is the MVP, I don’t think it’s a concern of theirs.”
Both coaches have valid points, both players have never been known for their flash or brand. Both have had current and past teammates gloat about their leadership and characteristics as friends, on-and-off of the court. And both are winners, as they each have two NBA MVP’s on their resume, though Duncan has the hardware with four championship rings.
Had it not been for Duncan and Nash playing in the same era, there’s a chance Nash might have a ring today had his team not had to face the Spurs over the years in the playoffs.
In today’s NBA where it’s all about highlights, selling the most jerseys, and getting all of the best stats each night, both Nash and Duncan quietly go unnoticed. But when both players jersey’s are hung in the rafters of San Antonio and Phoenix in the future, then they’ll be remembered forever.