With his longevity and skill set, Tim Duncan is something of a modern-day Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Indeed, Duncan was named first-team All-NBA this season at 37, the oldest player to earn that honor since the former Lakers star in the mid-1980s.

Another legend claims a resemblance — Bill Russell, winner of 11 championship in 13 seasons with the Celtics and arguably the greatest defensive player in league history. The notoriously prickly Russell granted a rare interview to USA Today’s Sam Amick on Wednesday, during which the five-time MVP expressed his admiration for Duncan:

“Playing with Tim Duncan creates great opportunities. Certain things happen, and it frees certain players. He has the same kinds of skills (as me). He creates problems for the other team on both offense and defense.

“One of his attributes that most people don’t recognize is his passing. And I don’t think there’s anybody in the league who can guard him one on one. A guy like Tim Duncan gives a coach a wide range of things you can do. Tim can play with almost anybody, and there are a lot of guys who can’t do that.”

As Amick notes, Duncan has played with roughly 120 teammates during his illustrious career with the Spurs. He and head coach Gregg Popovich are the lone holdovers from the first championship team in 1999, since which the Spurs have grown into one of the most consistent franchises in NBA history with a record 14 straight 50-win seasons.