Lakers Star LeBron James Praises Spurs Great Tim Duncan After Passing Him for Playoff Wins

With a recent victory in the NBA playoffs, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has reached another milestone. As of Saturday, King James officially surpassed San Antonio Spurs great Tim Duncan to take over his all-time playoff wins spot. With that, LeBron offered up praise for the soon-to-be Hall of Fame big man, and now has his sights set on the player at the top of the list.

LeBron James Passes Tim Duncan on All-Time Playoff Wins

Thanks to LeBron James contributing 38 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists for the Lakers, his team defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 116-108. That victory put Los Angeles up 2-1 in their series, which some feel could even go the distance. However, it LeBron continues to play this way, it could be over sooner, rather than later.

The win also put LeBron in sole possession of the No. 2 spot for all-time playoff wins by a player. He now has 158 total playoff wins across his superstar career, one more than 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Tim Duncan of the Spurs.

Learning of that brought praise from LeBron for the man Shaquille O’Neal dubbed the “Big Fundamental.”

“It’s just always surreal for me when my name is associated with any of the greats,” James said after the win. “And obviously, you know how great Tim Duncan was in this league with that franchise. … Basically, he lived in the postseason. That was his address. So for me to be linked with a great in the Big Fundamental, it means a lot.”

LeBron needs four more wins to take over the top spot on the list. Former Los Angeles Lakers star Derek Fisher is the all-time playoff wins leader with 161 over the course of his career.

LeBron, Duncan Had Playoff History Over the Years

LeBron James and Spurs great Tim Duncan had several meetings over the years in the NBA Playoffs. That includes games when LeBron was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat rosters. Duncan was of course a Spur throughout his entire career, capturing five titles along the way.

The two first met up in an NBA Finals matchup in 2007. That was four years into James’ career, back when he was climbing up the ladder in terms of becoming mentioned as one of the greats. San Antonio, thanks to Duncan and company, was too much for the Cavs roster, winning in a 4-0 sweep to take the title.

In 2013 and 2014, the NBA Finals featured a back-to-back matchup of the Miami Heat against the San Antonio Spurs. The 2013 Finals was an entertaining matchup that went the distance, with LeBron and the Heat capturing the 4-3 win over a tough Spurs team. That squad not only featured Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, but Kawhi Leonard, just several seasons deep into his All-Star career. 

The Spurs would gain revenge with the 2014 NBA Finals win over LeBron and the Heat. Kawhi Leonard captured his first NBA Finals MVP Award as he helped the Spurs win their fifth title in franchise history.

That also gave Tim Duncan his fifth ring, something LeBron is hoping to either tie or pass. He may add a fourth this postseason. Still, there are those who feel this season’s NBA championship includes an asterisk due to the circumstances with the league being suspended. Interestingly, many view the Spurs’ first NBA title (1999) in that way.

The Lakers are still amongst favorites to win it all at the NBA bubble. James should continue to help them get those necessary victories, and soon pass Fisher. His praise for the Spurs’ Duncan shows how he is a benchmark for success and role model for all players. Visit our Spurs news page for more of the latest team updates.