(I rec’d this in an email the day after the Spurs put away the Thunder.)
After last night’s thrilling OT victory by the Spurs (an NTL team if ever there was), I called my good friend Mark Jackson to get his “take” on it.
“John,” he said, “Before the game, I told everybody who would listen and the rest of y’all that if the Spurs were going to beat OKC and advance to the finals, Tim Duncan was going to have to play Tim Duncan basketball. And guess what happened? The game was almost lost and then in OT Tim Duncan started to play Tim Duncan basketball (just like I drew it up) and they won.”
“So, John, do you know why the Spurs won?”
“Because Tim Duncan played Tim Duncan basketball?”
“Right! Anything else?”
“They got it done on both ends of the court?”
Then, I called up legendary NTL coach, Coach B., and asked him what he thought of the game.
“Timmy came to one of our first NTL camps. He was kind of a diamond in the rough. Almost useless in the post. On the first day of camp, I explained to the campers that the ‘great one’s use the glass’. Well, that must’ve stuck with Timmy because on championship Sunday he banked in a couple to help lead his team to victory. I don’t remember much else except he got top ranks for coachability. He was also the first and last to receive an award named after himself.
“Not everyone who goes to NTL camp can expect a hall-of-fame career in the NBA. It’s nice when it happens though.”
John Poplett, shoo-in for NTL Weekend Camp Hall of Fame, Chicago (laced ’em up at NTL Lakeside many an April)