A year ago we never could’ve imagined the NBA without the legendary Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan.

Now, as both have touched the hardwood for the last time, Duncan’s career-long coach has offered some kind words to the 19-year vet.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich isn’t known to be very sincere and is always a tough interview because of his sarcasm and constant jokes. But for once he was pensive and spoke about how much the 40-year-old has meant to the organization as a whole.

It’s not a show of humility in any sense or form. People who grew up with me know me. I would not be standing here if it wasn’t for Tim Duncan. I’d be in the Budweiser League someplace in America, fat, and still trying to play basketball or coach basketball. But he’s why I’m standing. He’s made livings for hundreds of us, staff and coaches, over the years and never said a word, just came to work every day. Came early, stayed late, was there for every single person, from the top of the roster to the bottom of the roster, because that’s who he was, in all those respects,” Popovich explained.

Before closing the press conference, which Duncan did not attend, Popovich told a touching story about Duncan’s father:

I can still remember before his father passed away, [his father] looking at me in the eye and saying that, ‘I’m gonna hold you responsible to make sure that when he’s done, he’s the same person that he is now.’ And in that respect, he is. He’s grown as a person as we all do through experiences. But his inner core, he was over himself when he came in. And after all these accolades and all this success, he’s still gotten over himself. He hasn’t changed a lick,” the coach said.

It’s clear that Duncan’s values are mirrored throughout the Spurs’ locker room, as the rest of the team stays quiet, focusing on their journey to win another ring.

Watch the interview up top.

SOURCE: Fox Sports | IMAGE CREDIT: Getty

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