Since Spurs coach Gregg Popovich flew to St. Croix to get to know No. 1 overall draft pick Tim Duncan, the two have crafted one of the NBA's best success stories.
As a coach and a player, they have been a part of more playoff games (190) and victories (118) than any duo in league history.
Besides front-office personnel and assistants, they are the only two to play a part in winning four NBA championships.
Express-News staff writer Douglas Pils tracks down some of their glowing reports of one another over the years.
DUNCAN ON POPOVICH:
"Pop's been unbelievable. Obviously, not only the coaching job he's done, but the rotation he's given us. He's kept us fresh. He's found ways to rest guys when he can. He's put so many guys into our system. We've been playing with two very young guys starting for us the entire year, getting all those guys acclimated on the fly with very little practice time."
— After winning the NBA Coach of the Year honor in 2011-12
"Honestly, I do feel better. I don't want to say so, because then Pop's going to start resting me more."
— After making 11 of 16 shots the game after he didn't play and Popovich listed him as "DNP-Old" in late March
"He's the one who makes us go. He prepares us so well for games. He's great at getting on you and praising you when it's time, and calling you a piece of whatever at times. He balances it so well."
— After the Spurs won the 2005 NBA title
"Pop's great. He's been really good to myself and everybody around me. He was a part of it, but when it came down to it, it didn't deal with him. It dealt with basketball and everything around it."
— After spurning a free-agent deal with the Magic and opting to stay with the Spurs in 2000
Pop and Tim: A winning relationship
San Antonio Express-News | Oct 28