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Tim Duncan gave Tony Parker the silent treatment. For a year.

Why does he keep sitting next to me? (Associated Press)

There’s rookie hazing, and then there’s refusing to acknowledge a rookie’s very existence.

At least, that seems to have been the case during Tony Parker’s rookie year with the San Antonio Spurs in 2001-02, reports ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“He didn’t talk to me for a whole year,” Parker said after practice Monday, reflecting on his rookie season in 2001-02 when it wasn’t just a French-English language barrier that wedged a gap between the two. “It was kind of weird coming from France and you have your superstar player that doesn’t talk to you as a point guard, it’s kind of tough, you know? Because you’re supposed to talk to everybody.

Eventually, the two found something to talk about, like the three NBA titles they’ve won together. But it was slow going at first between Parker and both Duncan and Coach Gregg Popovich.

“I think you had to earn his respect, I guess,” Parker said. “That’s fair, when you’re 19. That’s how I felt, that I had to earn the respect of my teammates and my coaches. Especially Coach Pop (Gregg Popovich). For the first 3-4 years, it was like war with him.”

Up 1-0, the top-seeded Spurs host the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday night (NBATV).

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.
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