The Kobe Bryant retirement spectacle says a lot about him as a player. He’s on one of the worst teams in the league, his contract has crippled the team, and he’s totally cool with going out and shooting an abysmal percentage while taking bad shots, even though he’s now a below average player. It’s basically what an asshole would do. Tim Duncan, like Kobe Bryant, is a five time NBA Champion. His Spurs are currently one of the best teams in the league. Instead of wasting an entire season on an egotistical attention seeking exhibition, Duncan has taken a supporting role and is, unlike Bryant, making a positive contribution to his team. This might be Duncan’s last season too, but he didn’t feel the need to make the announcement in-season, probably because he wants to focus on winning or doesn’t want a bunch of celebratory recliners clogging up his garage.
Bryant is one of those guys who purports to be all about winning, yet this appears to be mostly talk. Duncan has taken less money so his team can sign better players. Bryant is being used by his team as an excuse to tank the season, and he’s either on board with this or in denial about their intentions. There’s money involved. LA’s clueless fans will shell out money and watch TV and root for Bryant to make a few jump shots as he highjacks the entire team’s future in the name of his personal validation.
Duncan has played more career games than Bryant.
Bryant was drafted 13th overall in 1996 and traded to the Lakers, who had arguably the league’s best player in Shaquille O’Neal. You’d have to wonder how lionized he’d be if his career had begun in Charlotte on a bad team. He’d probably be thought of as closer to Dwyane Wade than Michael Jordan. The Lakers brand gives you some cushion. Duncan was also drafted into fortunate circumstances and was able to play alongside David Robinson, so we’ll call that even, although Duncan didn’t force Robinson to leave the team due to his insufferable personality. Duncan has two League MVP’s, Bryant has one. Statistically they’re pretty even. Bryant has scored more, yet Duncan wasn’t a social cancer in the locker room. Everything about Bryant is irritating, especially his voice, which is a super corny Michael Jordan impression laden with fake bass and Asperger’s undertones. He’s interested in modeling. Enough said.
Duncan might retire after this season and that will be that. His personality is more of a Hertz representative who happens to be really good at something than bad R Kelly type guy. Also he was never accused of raping anybody. In many ways, Duncan is the opposite of Kobe Bryant. He doesn’t need to make things about him.
That’s why he’s a better player.