LAS VEGAS — Jahlil Okafor competed against Tim Duncan only once in his NBA career, but a pair of conversations he had with the future Hall of Famer during his rookie season stay with him.
Duncan retired on Monday, concluding an illustrious 19-year career. Okafor paid tribute to him with an Instagram post captioned, "To the big fundamental.. A champion, a legend and mentor. Thank you."
In February, Okafor recounted his influential discussions with Duncan to CSNPhilly.com.
“I talked to him before the game we played him here,” Okafor said. “I had a chance to sit down with him and talk for 20, 25 minutes. It was a really cool experience. I talked to him after the game we played in San Antonio, back and forth a little bit during the game. My head coach was his assistant coach in San Antonio, so I think Coach (Brett) Brown told him a few things about me.
“That was a lot of fun because he’s somebody that I idolized and respected him. ... I got a chance to tell him he’s my favorite player, so that was cool.”
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Duncan leaves the NBA with five championships and ranks 14th in points, fifth in blocks and sixth in rebounds (regular season). His accolades include MVP, Finals MVP and Rookie of the Year.