Duncan, LeBron: 2007 flashback
Duncan was already a legend in pursuit of his fourth ring, while LeBron was attempting to begin his own championship legacy.
Duncan was leading an experienced San Antonio Spurs team that featured Bruce Bowen, Robert Horry and younger versions of Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. LeBron was carrying a lackluster Cleveland team that started Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskus and Larry Hughes.
After his Spurs swept the Cavaliers in this mostly uncompetitive series, Duncan took LeBron aside to offer him some interesting advice:
"This is going to be your league in a little while, but uh, I appreciate you giving us this year," Duncan told James.
Duncan was on top of his game in 2007, but its doubtful the 31-year-old star expected to see LeBron in another Finals six years down the line. Even if he did, Tim definitely did not plan on seeing a LeBron coming off of his fourth MVP award.
LBJ had plenty of room for improvement in 2007, whether it be his jump shot or his post game, and Duncan was probably planning on being long gone by the time King James could fully realize his talents.
Well, Timmy has managed to keep his health and competitive spirit all the way through age 37 in 2013. His reward? A chance to face that LeBron guy whom he predicted would rule the NBA.
And the reigning MVP sure isn't going to "give (Duncan) this year," like the Spurs star thanked James for doing back in '07. Duncan is going to have to take the Larry O'Brien Trophy back by force.
Should be a good one.