In 2007, when LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers first met Tim Duncan and his San Antonio Spurs, this happened:
After being swept by the Spurs, LeBron went to congratulate Duncan after game four, and Duncan told James something that has probably stuck with him since then, “This is going to be your league in a little while.”
Since then, James has gone back to the Finals four times with the Miami Heat and once more with the Cavs, coming away with two championships. He’s also taken home two Finals MVPs and four MVP trophies too.
The two played against each other for the first time this season, and early on, James’ Cavs were up big thanks to some hot shooting from JR Smith, 32-20 after the initial 12 minutes. However, the Spurs kept pounding the rock like they always do, and a big fourth quarter burst gave them the win, 99-95.
Afterwards, James posted the following on his Instagram account, paying tribute to The Big Fundamental:
Don't know how many times we got left to go against one another but I've never have and I never will take them for granted! The consistency you've shown over the years goes unmatched and as a competitor it's always a treat to be competing on the same floor as you! Being a professional(professionalism) is so overlooked in our sport but I always knew who I could look to if I ever wasn't professional about this lovely game and that's You. From one King to Another and to the Greatest PF to Ever play this game, all Love and Respect Timmy D!
It’s only been an hour since he posted it, but James’ message already has 105,000 likes.
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images