The most talented trio in NBA history? If judging on teamwork and winning, it's hard to argue against Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, writes Chris Ballard in the June 10 issue of Sports Illustrated, which features a regional cover of the Spurs' Big Three.
A mismatched group of stars -- "A spindly French point guard. A madcap Argentine swingman. A stoic giant from the Virgin Islands," Ballard writes -- the Spurs' veterans will make their fourth Finals appearance together this week when they face Miami's Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
San Antonio's troika has more postseason wins (98) than all but one trio in NBA history (Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper), notes Ballard. They return to the Finals for the first time in six years.
In his 16th season, the 37-year-old Duncan is averaging 17.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in the playoffs. The oldest of the Big Three, he won his first title in 1999 without Parker and Ginobili.
Parker, 31, the Finals MVP of the Spurs' last title, in 2007, is averaging 23 points, 7.2 assists and 1.2 steals in the postseason. Ginobili, an 11-year veteran, has posted 11.5 points, 5.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds in the playoffs. The 35-year-old said he's feeling healthier than ever after the Spurs received nine full days of rest after sweeping Memphis in the Western Conference finals. Game 1 of the NBA Finals is Thursday (9 p.m. ET, ABC) in Miami.