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Gregg Popovich sports Tim Duncan shirt while gushing over star

By Alex Butler
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Gregg Popovich sports Tim Duncan shirt while gushing over star
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talks to Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

SAN ANTONIO, July 12 (UPI) -- San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich doesn't usually have much to say.

Tuesday was a different story.

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Following the retirement of the greatest Spurs player he has ever coached, Popovich spewed out the compliments for Tim Duncan, while wearing a shirt with his face on it. The shirt said: "Impossible is potential."

Duncan retired Monday. Popovich and Duncan combined for 1,001 career victories, the most by any player-coach duo in NBA history.

"I figured I better come out and do this and somehow say goodbye to him," Popovich told reporters. "Which is an impossibility for a lot of reasons."

Then things turned emotional, as Popovich talked about his run with "The Big Fundamental."

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"Everybody always talks about who they'd like to eat dinner with, if you had one night and could go to dinner, go to lunch with so-and-so, who would you like to do it with?" Popovich said. "People say Mother Teresa and Jesus and the Dalai Lama. OK, I get it."

"But if you think about a little bit more earthly, worldly type of people, people who are interesting, I think of people like William F. Buckley on the right and Gore Vidal on the left when they had their debates. Really clever, incisive people with ideas that really blew your mind."

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"I can honestly tell you, my dinner would be with Timmy," Popovich said. "And it would be because he's the most real, consistent, true person I've ever met in my life. He is so genuine that it blows your mind, like Buckley or Vidal would in an avant-garde sort of way."

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Duncan played for the Spurs for all 19 years of his illustrious career, winning five championships alongside Popovich. He was the No. 1 pick in the 1997 NBA Draft.

The 40-year-old was a 15-time All-Star and two-time NBA MVP. He averaged 19 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2.2 blocks per game in his career.

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