SAN ANTONIO – Legendary sports broadcaster Dan Patrick and former Spurs player Matt Bonner had a spirited debate about where San Antonio icon Tim Duncan ranks among the NBA’s greatest players.
The pair discussed a variety of topics from Patrick’s start in sports broadcasting to music. When the topic of greatest NBA players came up, Bonner and Patrick went back-and-forth on whether Duncan was a “top 5” player of all-time.
Bonner, who won two championships with Duncan, argued that Duncan was in the top five because the Spurs were relevant every year that Duncan played and San Antonio never had a down season during Duncan’s 19-year career.
Patrick said Michael Jordan and LeBron James were atop his list, but he couldn’t put together a top five because it was too difficult to compare players from different generations.
“Do I put Kobe in there? Do I put Shaq in there? Do I put Tim Duncan in there?” Patrick asked. Bonner quickly responded “yes,” but Patrick argued that championships should be removed from the equation.
“If Tim doesn’t have five championships, he’s not involved in the conversation,” Patrick said.
“But he does,” Bonner responded.
Patrick went on to say that if championships were the ultimate barometer, then Celtics legend Bill Russell, who won 11 championships with Boston, should be considered the greatest of all time and not Jordan.
Bonner countered by saying Duncan’s overall body of work, which included 15 All-NBA nods and multiple NBA Finals and regular season MVPs, squarely put Duncan in the top five. Duncan is set to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 15.
Bonner said Jordan, James and possibly Russell and Wilt Chamberlain would be the only players he would take over Duncan. He added that he would take Duncan over Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Bryant and Shaq.
The pair debated Duncan’s status as an all-time great for a solid 12 minutes. Patrick conceded that “Tim was a great player, no doubt about it and he’s in that top 15 player of all-time” range.
The podcast runs close to an hour long and the Duncan conversation starts about 27 minutes into the episode. The pair also discussed Patrick’s relationship with Adam Sandler, movies and naturally food, which is a Bonner staple.
Check out the full episode below.